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Clippings: Offseason reflection answers questions, but raises others

The Clippers were active this offseason, but whether or not it was enough has yet to be determined.

New York Knicks v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

This period of the year for NBA fans typically acts as a time for reflection on offseason moves and changes. With potential free agent pickups quickly leaving the board, this lull in basketball action is a perfect time for Clipper insiders and fans to look back on the summertime shuffling.

It’s difficult to holistically evaluate the Clippers offseason at the moment, considering that the additions not only answer some unsettled questions, but they raise new ones as well. First and foremost, the Clippers beefed up their backcourt with combo guard Eric Bledsoe at the expense of Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo, and Daniel Oturu. While Bledsoe does add some extra playmaking to the equation, perhaps the most notable question raised is whether he can match the stifling defensive energy of Beverley, which was integral to the Clippers’ success in the regular season and playoffs.

Los Angeles Clippers v Milwaukee Bucks
Much of the Clippers’ success rests on the performance of Eric Bledsoe next season.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Additionally, the Clippers’ signings of Justise Winslow and Harry Giles add marginal insurance to Ty Lue’s depth chart. Winslow is putting in work, but his health and offensive skillset are still in question, and Giles has yet to prove he can remain in the NBA as a big man long-term. It’s out of the question to ask Winslow to fill the hole left by Kawhi Leonard’s injury absence, so fans must make sure to have reasonable expectations for the team, but it is a bit worrying that the Clippers did not pickup a more reliable wing. In fact, it’s clear that the Clippers missed out on the most valuable targets in free agency, with players like Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry opting to move elsewhere.

Of course, the new additions of Bledsoe, Winslow, and Giles have upside, and the Clippers demonstrated they get the most out of their players, so they may very well end up as reliable contributors. That’s not even taking the rookies into consideration, with Brandon Boston positioned to be the biggest steal of the draft. On top of that, returners like Reggie Jackson and Terance Mann could have career years, building off of their surprise success last year.

Ultimately, analyses of the Clippers’ offseason remain mixed, and only time will tell whether the optimistic predictions trump the pessimistic reflections. However, fans can feel secure that, barring any freak injuries or unprecedented drop-offs in production, the Clippers will continue to contend for a title upon Leonard’s return.

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