2. The Clippers have gotten weaker
In July 2019, when NBA rosters for the 2019-20 season took shape, the consensus is that the Clippers were the co-favorites to win the NBA championship along with the Lakers.
If anything, the Clippers were considered by plenty to be the outright favorites. In fact, at least one prominent member of the national media predicted that they would become the greatest defensive team in modern NBA history due to their array of wing defenders.
It didn’t happen. Instead, they were wildly inconsistent on the defensive end and lacked a true floor general, not to mention a leader.
It all came to a head when the Clippers pulled one of the most epic choke jobs in sports history – blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs by blowing double-digit leads in each of the last three games.
Although the Clippers attempted to recover from the loss of Harrell by signing veteran big man Serge Ibaka, it’s a stretch to say that Ibaka is an upgrade over Harrell.
The Clippers still don’t have a productive point guard, they still don’t have a leader and their bench, which was feared last season, is considerably weaker.
Don’t get me wrong – the Clippers are still an elite team that could win the world championship. But their margin of error is rather slim, as they have less talent than the Lakers.
They’re also in something of a desperate situation, as both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can opt-out and become free agents this summer.
If the Clippers fail to reach the conference finals again, or at least not reach the NBA Finals, it’s not a stretch to imagine both Leonard and George leaving L.A.’s JV team.