The LA Clippers are a team that will always be on the radar because of the stars they have. After winning 22 of their 31 games they’re 2.5 games behind the conference leaders, Utah Jazz. With a win percentage of .710 they are showing that they’ve taken previous season’s upset very seriously. The LA Clippers roster means business and they are showing it on court.
Some of the notable additions they’ve made are Serge Ibaka from the Toronto Raptors, Nicolas Batum from the Charlotte Hornets and Luke Kennard from Detroit Pistons. Losing Montrezl Harrell to their rivals, LA Lakers, may have been a tough pill to swallow, but his replacement Ibaka has been contributing well enough.
Let's have a look at how the LA Clippers roster has performed so far this season and for the purposes of this article, we have taken those that have played more than 10 games or 10 minutes per game and therefore are having a significant impact on the team.
Grading the LA Clippers starters after 31 games of the 2020-21 season
Kawhi Leonard: A+
2020-21 Season Record – MPG: 34.6 PPG: 26.8 AST: 5.0 REB: 5.8
Being an elite defender means it shouldn't come as a surprise to see Kawhi Leonard lead the LA Clippers' roster in the steals category with 41 of them. Offensively, he has been scoring on a consistent basis, as he’s had only two below 20 point performances until now. He has also been named as an All-Star starter for the upcoming All-Star weekend in Atlanta.
Paul George: A
2020-21 Season Record – MPG: 33.7 PPG: 23.9 AST: 5.4 REB: 6.2
Paul George has silenced the noise about him being on a decline after the disappointment in the playoffs last season. He has put in hard work and has brought himself back in the discussion with a 61.4% effective FG and also leads the team in assists per game. If not anything else, he has been reliable with the ball this season. But we all know we can expect more from PG-13.
Serge Ibaka: B+
2020-21 Season Record – MPG: 24.1 PPG: 11.7 AST: 1.8 REB: 6.7
Despite his age, Serge Ibaka proved to be very useful for the Toronto Raptors in his previous seasons, one of which ended in a Championship. The veteran coming into the LA Clippers roster benefits the likes of Ivica Zubac who is still young and has a long way to go.
Ibaka’s presence also puts the LA Clippers in a position to manage the paint against teams like LA Lakers and Denver Nuggets. He hasn’t been a rim protector like he used to be in this OKC Thunder days but definitely slows down opposition offenses.
Patrick Beverley: B
2020-21 Season Record – MPG: 24.2 PPG: 8.7 AST: 2.1 REB: 4.1
Known for his ‘bulldog mentality’, Patrick Beverley is someone who contributes on both ends of the court. The LA Clippers need him to keep up his typically high level of defense on an everyday basis. Having not played 10 games this season mainly due to COVID-19 safety protocols, I’d say he hasn’t hit his peak for the season yet. You can count on him to be effective and make a difference as they go deeper in the season.
Nicolas Batum: B+
2020-21 Season Record – MPG: 29.9 PPG: 9.4 AST: 2.3 REB: 4.8
Nicolas Batum has easily fit in to the LA Clippers squad rotation ever since he got signed by them in the offseason. He’s Tyronn Lue’s third most used player after Kawhi and PG, starting in all the fixtures he’s played in. His experience in the league is helpful in terms of keeping the offense going with smart floor spacing and ball rotation, something the LA Clippers struggled with in the playoffs last year. He also has a high eFG at 64.1%.