Three Major Changes Los Angeles Clippers Need to Make Following NBA Playoffs Meltdown

Published 09/18/2020, 10:24 AM EDT
LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) celebrates with Lou Williams against the Dallas Mavericks during the third quarter in game six of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


Speaking of the frontrunners to win the 2019-20 NBA title, the Los Angeles Clippers were heavy favorites to win it all. But what went wrong for the Clippers? In simple words, they choked. Not one player, but the whole team, from head coach to the last player on the bench.

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How else can you explain a powerhouse blowing a 3-1 lead in the WCSF? No disrespect to the Denver Nuggets, they played at an elite level. But when the roster has two of the best players in the league, fans expected a different outcome from the Clippers.

Heading into the series decider Game 7, Clippers had already blown multi-digit leads in Game 5 and 6. But at least Kawhi Leonard and Paul George showed up in those games. However, in Game 7, the two perennial superstars combined for 24 points in the entire game!

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Moreover, they disappeared in the entire fourth quarter, not scoring even a single bucket. As a result, the Nuggets made them pay for their mistakes and advanced to the Western Conference Finals.

Time to change things for the Los Angeles Clippers?

In the regular season, the Clippers had a 2-1 advantage over the Nuggets. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate into the WCSF series victory. The Clippers were pushed to seven games and the drought for their first Conference Finals appearance remained intact.

Convince Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to stay

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) handles the ball while Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) and forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first half in game seven of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Looking back at the 2019 offseason, Paul George’s trade to the Clippers was one of the biggest headlines of free agency. Moreover, the Clippers not only gave up Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari, but five first-round picks as well to acquire George.

The acquisition of Paul George attracted reigning finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, to join the Clippers camp. Both superstars signed massive three-year deals with a player option to become unrestricted free agents in year three.

With the first season in the books, George and Leonard might not be tempted to take up the player option. If this turns out to be the case, the Clippers organization will be in a dangerous place, with no chance of a rebuild till 2027 whatsoever.

Moreover, George struggled through the postseason barely averaging 20 points per game and he shot just 39.8% from the field! PG13’s form next year is crucial for the Clippers if they want this experiment to succeed.

Get a Legitimate Point Guard

While facing the Denver Nuggets, the Clippers’ lack of flow in the offense was put under a magnifying glass. As good as Lou Williams is, he usually leads the second unit off the bench. Moreover, Patrick Beverley is not your traditional point guard, he plays the role of a defensive anchor on the team.

As a result, George or Leonard are forced to facilitate the offense during the final stretches of the game. The Clippers can use someone like Derrick Rose to bring up the ball for the team.

Moreover, Rose can make his own shots along with distributing the ball well. Rose averaged a solid 18.1 points for the Pistons in the regular season and shot nearly 50% from the field. As per NBA insider Chris Haynes, the Clippers are already inquiring about the veteran point guard.

Los Angeles Clippers need to Part ways with Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers has always regarded as one of the better coaches in the league. But looking back at his recent years as Clippers head coach, it has been nothing but disappointment. Following the meltdown against the Nuggets, it marked Doc’s third time blowing a 3-1 lead. No other coach in the history of the NBA has done that more than once!

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Despite this terrible record on his resume, the Clippers are planning to bring back Rivers next season as per Chris Haynes. To be honest, if the Clippers do sack Rivers, it might make Leonard and George unhappy.

During the 2019 offseason, the biggest reason the two superstars came to Clippers was to play under Doc Rivers. And the franchise can’t risk making their stars unhappy as things stand right now.

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What do you think? Will the Clippers come back strong next year? Or will it be more of the same for the franchise?

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Aikansh Chaudhary

771 articles

Aikansh Chaudhary is an NBA columnist for Essentially Sports. Previously, he helped rank various websites using the latest SEO techniques, and wrote over 2000 articles during his stint as a freelance writer. A die hard Lakers fan, Aikansh will forever uphold LeBron James as the GOAT.

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