“Clippers Basketball-Great Unknown”————-
LA Clippers basketball kicks off the season on Thursday, but will do so without their flagship star Kawhi Leonard.
The Clippers have had success with new owner Steve Ballmer, but have not reached the promised land, winning the Conference playoffs to get to the NBA finals.
And as of this morning, they look further away now than ever.
They have the experiment of Leonard and Paul George that faltered miserably a couple of years back and got Coach Doc Rivers fired.
They had the explosive team chemistry of Chris Paul and Blake Griffen-that did not work out.
They have a stretch, where the bench bunch of Montrzl Harrell..Lou Williams and Patrick Beverly made a huge difference.
That’s all gone.
Granted as they build this new Arena, seek their own identity, there are still no banners hung at the Staples Center that count for anything, but there is no doubt there is great credibility with the Ballmer era compared to the national disgrace that was Donald Sterling.
But there is no Kawhi Leonard, and may not be till next June, if they get to the playoffs, and that is not certainly. If it takes 9-to-12 months to recover from his type of knee surgery, who knows what kind of player he will be when he comes back from the torn ligaments.
Paul George is still a superstar, but you can defend one guy out of the system and then you ask-where are the rest of the points coming from
Reggie Jackson..great season but more of an off the bench guy-can he duplicate big time production as a starter for a whole 72-game season?
Eric Bledsoe comes with credentials, the ability to score, but on the other side of age 30, and with so many teams having moved on from him, can he regain any type of star status? They need him to be.
Ivic Zubac really grew into a quality starter, but he is a banger with limited offense-and that won’t change will it?
Marcus Morris ate up lots of minutes and had some good games, but night to night what kind of player is he?
Nick Batum, with 100,000 miles on his wheels, played well in spurts, but will he do it again for longer minutes?
Serge Ibaka..good role player but now coming off back surgrey and still not totally ready to play backup support role..ho wlong will this linger, can he stay on the court-stay tuned?
Luke Kennard is a role playing three point shooter, some nights it drops for him, others not.
Terrance Mann played his way into a multi year contract and does bring firepower onto the court. He may be the next one up who must produce.
Justise Winslow was viewed as a rock solid guy in Miami, but has drifted since then and there have been injuries. He gets a chance to contribute
Does anybody recognize the rest of the roster, names like Boston..Coffey..Hartenstien..Johnson..Preston..Scrubb.
It sure looks like the Clippers missed the open window. Now they are capped out…traded future picks away..have a superstar who is showing wear-and-tear and hurt.
Staples Center has one team with questions swirling…how do all these players fit together with the Lakers? Across the hallway..do the Clippers have enough players to survive the season?
Just don’t know if this can be a playoff team, much less a good team?
We find out Thursday night what ‘life without Kawhi’ will really be like