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ESPN gives Clippers second-best chance of winning the West

The ESPN panel looked pretty favorably upon the Clippers.

New Orleans Pelicans v LA Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Sports, has been putting out their projections and predictions for the upcoming 2022-23 NBA season, and one of those had to do with who they foresee winning the Western Conference. As you would imagine, the LA Clippers did pretty well in this regard.

The Clippers finished second in the polling done by the panel, trailing only the reigning champion Golden State Warriors.

Here’s what they had to say:

While the Warriors take top billing here — more on them below — LA is a trendy Finals pick because of the return of Kawhi Leonard, who missed the entire 2021-22 season after suffering a partial right ACL tear during the 2021 playoffs.

The top three teams in the polling all came from the Pacific Division thanks to the Phoenix Suns joining both the Clippers and Warriors.

It makes sense that the Warriors are the panel’s choice of making it back to the NBA Finals since, after all, they did just win a title. In a lot of sports, the champion gets the benefit of the doubt, as they should in most cases.

The Clippers have gotten stronger in the time that Kawhi Leonard has been absent, which is a part of the reason they are viewed so favorably. The additions of Norman Powell and Robert Covington near last year’s trade deadline, plus the inclusion of John Wall, have made them an intriguing pick for some.

With the schedule coming out soon, we’ll have a better idea of the Clippers’ chances this season based on how the 82 games break themselves down in terms of travel, back-to-backs, five-in-sevens, etc. Could the franchise’s first-ever 60-win season be on tap? We’ll see.

But for now, the franchise looks on track to at least appearing in their second Western Conference finals. At least that’s how the ESPN panel sees it.

You can find Justin Russo’s daily content on the LA Clippers by subscribing to his Patreon feed, and you can also follow him on Twitter at @FlyByKnite.