Playoffs or not: LA Clippers 2017-2018 season is a success

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 15: Tobias Harris
HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 15: Tobias Harris /

Whether or not the Los Angeles Clippers make the playoffs, we should look at this season as a success for the franchise.

Going into the 2017-2018 season, the Clippers had a brand new team. Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Austin Rivers, Wesley Johnson, and Brice Johnson were the only 5 players to remain on the team from the prior season. The Clippers lost their star point guard in June to the Houston Rockets. They gave Franchise Legend, Blake Griffin a very hefty contract (no matter what anyone says, he 100% deserved that money for everything he did for the team). They acquired the notoriously injury riddled, Italian Steed that is Danilo Gallinari. Many people predicted that this Blake Griffin reliant Clippers team wouldn’t even graze the playoffs, placing them around the 10 seed or lower. There were absolutely zero expectations for this team. Even if the team fails to make it beyond 82 games, I think we could chalk this season up as a success.

Chris Paul Trade

Let’s take a look at the Chris Paul trade from June: The Clippers did a sign and trade with the Rockets with Chris Paul in return for Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, a Houston 2018 1st round pick, and several players that are G-Leaguers. Patrick Beverley was good in his few appearances, highlighted by locking up Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball in the season opener. Unfortunately, Beverley had season ending surgery. Lou Williams has set LA on fire. He is a lock for 6th Man of the Year. He has kept the team alive through their many injuries. Sam Dekker hasn’t shown much, but he hasn’t played much either. The 1st round pick was part of the sign and trade that landed the Clippers Danilo Gallinari and the Nuggets Paul Millsap. Gallinari has been been beat mercilessly with the injury stick this season. The key piece to it all, is Montrezl Harrell. Fans unite to celebrates this man. Trez is young. He is tenacious. He is a monster athlete. He is a big part of the future of this team.

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Blake Griffin Trade

Now let’s examine the Blake Griffin trade: The Clippers received Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, fan favorite Boban Marjanovic and a future 1st round pick. So far, Harris has been out performing Griffin, and he’s only 25. Avery Bradley is a free agent this summer. He may leave, but if he chooses to stay, his perimeter defense and ability to stretch the floor will be appreciated and utilized. Boban has the potential to be the best of all time… at guarding inbound plays. He’s a big fella. He will make for a decent back up center and an excellent things to cling to, even during tough times. The future 1st round pick is interesting. It is 1-4 protected for the Pistons, and the Clippers will likely use it this year. If the Clippers do not make the playoffs, we are looking at having 2 lottery picks, as the Pistons aren’t doing too hot. This is a very good draft class and these picks will be nice building pieces for the future.

The Future

With players like Montrezl Harrell and Tobias Harris leading the charge into the future, it is looking good. Austin Rivers is still young and these two mid-1st round picks are going to be very nice. With Lou Williams recently signing an extension and DeAndre Jordan possibly doing the same this summer, we could retain our core and have a couple solid new young guys with us.

They are a team with absolutely no expectations, a team who lost the 2 best players in their franchises history, a team who was starting G-League players due to extensive injuries, and a team that is in one of the most difficult conferences of all time. It’s hard to call them a disappointment considering we still have a shot. Even if we don’t make it, things will be just fine.