5 reasons why the Clippers will win the NBA title

The Los Angeles Clippers entered the All-Star break with a 36-17 record and are only two games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves for first place in the Western Conference. Only the Celtics and the Nuggets have better odds to win the Larry O’Brien trophy, according to VegasInsider.

This season might represent the franchise’s best chance to win an NBA championship in the history of the organization. The only other time there was this much hype surrounding the team was in 2020 when their season was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul George (13) and the Los Angeles Clippers are playing like a team on a mission to win it all. Photo credit: Mark Hammond/News4usonline.com

Four games into the season, Los Angeles executed a blockbuster trade for ten-time All-Star guard James Harden, and now that the former MVP has been acclimated into the system, the Clippers look like one of the very best teams in the NBA.

If the Clippers can finally get over the hump and win their first title in franchise history, these will be the reasons why.

Health

The Clippers might have already won a championship if not for injuries to key players in what seems like every year since they acquired Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the summer of 2019.

In 2021, they made it to the Western Conference Finals, but Leonard suffered a torn ACL in the previous series, making their matchup with the Phoenix Suns an uphill battle that they ultimately lost. In 2022, they were without Leonard once again while he nursed the knee injury, and they lost in the play-in games. In 2023, George went down towards the end of the regular season, and Leonard again suffered a knee injury in the playoffs, this time tearing his meniscus. Without both stars, they would again be knocked out by the Suns.

Figures crossed, but the Clippers are as healthy as they have ever been during the Steve Ballmer era. Leonard appears to have put the knee issues behind him, and both he and Harden have played 48 games this season. George has played in 50 games and has not had to carry as much of the load as in years past. Both Russell Westbrook and Norman Powell, who are two of the most valuable bench players in the league, have suited up for all 53 games for the Clippers.

Things can change, and every team is one wrong step away from catastrophic injury. Still, it looks like Los Angeles will finally field a healthy postseason roster this year if everything goes according to plan.

Leadership

The 2020 season was supposed to be the Clippers year. They were the odds-on favorite to win the championship up until the league was shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the league announced a plan to resume play in “the bubble” at Walt Disney World, the Clippers players were reportedly the one team not interested in the idea.

Lou Williams famously left for Magic City and stopped at a strip club because he was craving his favorite lemon pepper wings. Los Angeles ultimately was eliminated by the Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks after blowing a 3-1 series lead.

It is hard to blame leadership on the 2020 collapse entirely, but it is safe to say the lack thereof played a role. This will not be the case in 2024.

Despite no longer having perennial All-NBA status, Westbrook is the leader this team needs. Compared to most NBA superstars, Leonard and George are reserved, and Westbrook makes up for what this team lacked. He is fiery, ultra-competitive, and will make sure every man on the roster is giving maximum effort night in and night out during a playoff run. There truly are no days off for Russ.

James Harden has the Los Angeles Clippers playing at a high level since being traded to the team. Photo credit: Melinda Meijer/News4usonline.com

Tyronn Lue has also demonstrated that he has what it takes to lead a team to a championship when his Cavaliers beat the Warriors in 2016. Lue took over as head coach for Doc Rivers following the early exit in 2020 and led the Clippers to their first Western Conference Finals appearance in franchise history in his first season. He is highly respected around the league and in his locker room. Lue will ensure his team stays focused and plays up to par.

Star Power

Between Leonard, George, Harden, and Westbrook, the Clippers have a combined 34 All-Star appearances, 27 All-NBA selections, two regular season MVPs, and two Finals MVPs. This is the best trio of starters in the league with the most decorated player bench player in the entire NBA.

Any one of these players can be the best on the court any given night. George often has the third-best defender from the other team on him, which is simply not fair for a defense. The star power this team possesses has allowed each player to own their specific role.

If one player is struggling, it is not to worry, as whoever has the hot hand will pick them up. Each player can pick their spots and conserve their energy as they take turns attacking. The surplus of players who can create their own shot has allowed Leonard to have the best shooting season of his career. He is making 52.7 percent of his shots from the field and hitting 45.3 percent of his three-pointers.

Good luck guarding this team in a seven-game series.

Depth

Usually, when a team has as many star players as the Clippers have, they are lacking in other areas. It is rare a team can find the necessary pieces needed to fill out the rest of the roster. That is not the case for this team.

The case could be made for Powell winning Sixth Man of the Year, averaging 13.4 points per game while shooting over 45 percent from three. Ivica Zubac can get a double-double on any given night, averaging nearly 12 points and nine and a half boards a night. Terance Mann is a versatile wing that can guard most positions on the floor.

One reason why the Los Angeles Clippers have one of the best records in the NBA is because of great play off the bench from players like reserve guard/forward Terance Mann (14). Photo credit: Melinda Meijer/News4usonline.com

Both Mason Plumlee and Daniel Theis can give valuable big man minutes off the bench, and even Amir Coffey has turned himself into a knockdown shooter, hitting 45 percent of his three-point attempts this season.

The depth of this Los Angeles team is a luxury rather than a necessity, but it makes them that much harder to contain. They can legitimately go ten players deep without much drop-off, which will keep everyone fresh during a deep playoff run.

Last Year at Crypto.com Arena

The organization will finally get its own arena next season after years of living in the shadow of the Lakers. This has nothing to do with the actual team itself but could be a huge motivating factor for why this team will win the 2024 NBA championship.

The Clippers cover up all the banners that the Lakers have hanging in the rafters for each home game, and it would be a shame if they leave Crypto.com Arena (formerly Staples Center) without ever having some hardware of their own.

Winning a title in “The House That Kobe Built” would be the ultimate going-away gift to the fans who have stuck with this franchise over the years despite their lack of championships.

Lead Photo Caption:

Kawhi Leonard and Daniel Theis of the Los Angeles Clippers put defensive pressure on Denver Nuggets guard Reggie Jackson during an NBA game played at Crypto.com Arena on Dec. 6, 2023. Photo credit: Melinda Meijer/News4usonline

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