What We All MISSED About The Clippers In The NBA (Ft. Playoffs Disappointment, Kawhi Watch)
The Clippers lost in the NBA playoffs. Kawhi and Paul George didn’t perform, but why? #Clippers #Kawhi #NBA
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The Clippers are known to collapse. Look at 2015 when they blew a 19 point lead. The common denominator, Doc Rivers who has now blown more 3-1 series leads than any coach in NBA history and is 6-8 in NBA Finals. Even Phil Jackson knew. “They know how to lose”. Think about that. We’ve seen it throughout this whole series.
But it isn’t just Doc Rivers. We have Playoff P, or Pandemic P, whatever you want to call him. Paul George. PG is supposed to be a leader on this team. And he’s supposed to be a star, borderline superstar player. Heck he finished top 3 in MVP voting in 2019. And then he’s put performances up like these. Some of these have been in win or go home games. He’s had multiple games just these playoffs of shooting 25% from the field. And there’s no excuses. In 2019, it was the shoulder, in 2018 it was Carmelo.
And let’s not forget about Kawhi. Max Kellerman, I want a public apology. Look at Kawhi’s game 7 performance.In fact, look at the whole Clippers. Their top 3 scorers all struggled. Is that Kawhi’s fault? No, he got the shots he wanted, he just didn’t make them. These are shots that Kawhi typically misses. And that can happen when you make a living off making tough shots. Kawhi left the Raptors for the Clippers and ended up with the same result.
The most important flaw of the Clippers which was always mentioned but never fully addressed was their chemistry and specifically their lack of playing time together. Kawhi and Paul George played a combined 43 games out of a total 72 games played for the Clippers. And that means they’ve played in less than 60% of games with their superstars. Yeah load management is cool, but not when you got multiple new pieces. They just didn’t have an identity or system. And then think about Kawhi who has primarily been in structured teams with great coaches and management, like the Spurs and Raptors. Without structure, you lend yourself to letdowns.
And without a true floor general, this is bound to happen. Kawhi led all Clippers in assists at 4.9 per game. That ain’t it. There was no true point guard that could run the offense and because of that it fell on the team as a whole to get the offense going. But because the Clippers had no chemistry, it became hero ball, whoever had the hot hand and that worked since the Clippers had so much talent. And while I don’t detest hero ball, it can’t be a substitute for an efficient running offense. For all the trash talk, Patrick Beverley ain’t doing much as a point guard and Dame mercing him. During the regular season, the Clippers were 22nd in assists per game. Kawhi is not LeBron in that sense at all. He’s not the guy running the offense, Paul George has in the past to some extent but both of these stars had traditional point guards or guards capable of setting up teammates consistently. Kawhi had Kyle Lowry who performed, he had Tony Parker in the Poppovich system, PG had George Hill who at the time was a steady hand on the Pacers.
Now where do the Clippers go from here? Kawhi’s contract is up next year, PG ends next year too, Louis Will ends next year. Harrell is going to want to be paid this offseason. The Clippers have no first round picks till 2027. That means no real trade assets besides the players they have, no cap space to add players. So they are left with a few options. That is to either try again and make sure the team is a well oiled running machine, or cut their losses, try to avoid risk and trade Kawhi.
Trading Kawhi would shake the NBA again, but it really also depends on Kawhi and what he wants. From what he’s said, he’s wanted to have some sort of offensive scheme, but the Clippers didn’t have that. We have two players, Kawhi and Giannis that could completely change the whole fabric of the NBA. But what do you think?