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Clippers projected to be NBA’s ‘biggest bounce-back candidate’

One year after fighting their way to 42 wins, ESPN projects the Clippers to have the biggest ‘bounce-back’

LA Clippers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The 2021-22 NBA season was not one of great health or continuity for the LA Clippers. After all, superstar forward Kawhi Leonard missed the entire year while his running mate, Paul George, only played in 31 of the 82 regular season games.

Because of that, ESPN happens to think that L.A.’s “little brother” will have the biggest turnaround in the league in 2022-23.

The Clippers fell short of the playoffs last season as Leonard and George missed significant time to injury, but they top this list with the duo expected to bounce back and help the team contend for the NBA title.

Last season, the Clippers were one of the most injured teams across the NBA. So, as a result, it stands to reason that Steve Ballmer’s team will see a pretty sizable boon to their win total this upcoming season thanks to the return of both Leonard and George.

However, it wasn’t just the two superstars who missed time. Norman Powell, who was acquired near the trade deadline from the Portland Trail Blazers, only played in 5 out of a possible 28 regular season contests. Incredibly, the Clippers went 11-9 in the 20 games they played without all three of George, Leonard and Powell after the trade deadline.

Assuming the Clippers have a reasonable amount of health in 2022-23, they could approach a 60-win season due to their star power and depth. That would end up making them, most likely, the biggest turnaround in the NBA.

Rounding out the top 10 from ESPN in this were, in order, the Trail Blazers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers.

The Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets and San Antonio Spurs also received votes.

Of note, the Clippers also received one point from ESPN, tying them for ninth with the Houston Rockets, when polled about who would be surrounded by the most drama this season. That’s presumably due to them having the lingering cloud of title contention hovering above them.

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.