For the first time in franchise history, the LA Clippers reached the NBA playoffs Western Conference finals. Although they lost to the Phoenix Suns in six games last season, they accomplished a milestone that could be the turning point in the team's history.
The Clippers were a joy to watch in the 2021 playoffs, largely because of how they went about their business. They were the comeback kings of the 2021 season, as they twice recovered from 2-0 deficits to secure their conference finals berth.
Unfortunately, the LA Clippers failed to get past a superior Suns team. It's worth noting, though, that the outcome might have been different had Kawhi Leonard featured in the series.
The LA Clippers relied on their three-point shooting, which paid them rich dividends. Eight players in the 2020-21 LA Clippers' roster shot over 40% in the season. Despite shaking things up during the offseason, they managed to hold on to most of their sharpshooters.
While the Clippers have not made any high-profile acquisitions, the re-signing of Leonard is perhaps enough for them to have another go at the title. They have made some additions, lagely to shore up their defense, though.
The Clippers also traded up in the 2021 NBA draft to select Keon Johnson with the 21st overall pick. It will be interesting to see what plans the team has for him and monitor his development in becoming a better two-way player.
The Clippers will undoubtedly look to win the NBA title, but that might be a reach, considering the talent in other teams' rosters. Nevertheless, it will be intriguing to watch the LA Clippers attempt to better their illustrious neighbors in the upcoming season.
On that note, here's a look at the floor and ceiling for the LA Clippers in the 2021-22 campaign.
Predicting the floor for the LA Clippers
The LA Clippers have become one of the top-rated franchises in the Western Conference. That is why playoff qualification is almost guaranteed. Hence, the Clippers' floor for the 2021-22 season is a first-round exit in the 2022 NBA playoffs.
There will undoubtedly be more drama in the West, considering how rosters have been stacked. It is often difficult to predict how a franchise could perform at the start of the season. But several teams have made clear statements about their goals this offseason. The likes of the LA Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz have all subtly expressed their desire to dominate in the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, for the LA Clippers, they have had a taste of the conference finals and will look to return to that stage once again. But it will likely be a rollercoaster campaign for the Clips because Paul George will have to single-handedly carry the team for a while.
The LA Clippers lost Leonard during the Western Conference semi-finals against the Utah Jazz after he sustained a knee injury. The two-time NBA champion has undergone surgery to repair a partially torn ACL, but there is no timetable for his return yet.
It goes without saying the LA Clippers can achieve more success with Leonard on the court, considering how impactful he is at both ends of the court. In his absence, it is difficult to ascertain how successful the Clippers could be. Nevertheless, they should make the playoffs and do so without going through the play-in tournament.
Predicting the ceiling for the LA Clippers
As stated earlier, anything short of the conference finals would be considered a bust for the LA Clippers. So there could be a Lakers-Clippers playoffs match for the first time in NBA history. Considering the same, the Clippers' ceiling for the 2021-22 season is the Western Conference finals.
The Clippers made some questionable acquisitions during the offseason, trading Rajon Rondo and Patrick Beverley for Eric Bledsoe. While the move was clearly to ship off Rondo, losing a hard-nosed defender like Beverly is worrisome. Nevertheless, Bledsoe is a decent defender, and has an edge offensively.
Although George's Game-5 performance in the 2021 NBA playoffs conference semi-finals has laid to rest Pandemic P, he will need to continue producing performances worthy of Playoff P status. So a lot rests on The Klaw's return.
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