After their recent performances, it is time to be said. The LA Clippers have the best bench in the NBA. Let’s look at why.
The LA Clippers have the best bench in the NBA. There. I said it. After six games resulting in a 4-2 record, the time for over-reaction is now. This team doesn’t have any superstars, per se (although, some may believe Boban Marjanovic is larger than life), but their bench is helping carry them to these blowout victories.
Think of it this way. The Clippers bench is so good that they assigned Sindarius Thornwell to their G-League affiliate this week. That’s the same Thornwell who in his rookie season last year was a productive member of the team in 73 appearances.
With Thornwell gone, the bench shakes out as the following:
- PG – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Milos Teodosic
- SG – Lou Williams, Jerome Robinson
- SF – Luc Mbah a Moute
- PF – Mike Scott
- C – Montrezl Harrell, Boban Marjanovic
Just by looking at that list of names, many NBA fans can ascertain that the Clippers have a solid bench. But let’s go even further than that.
Offensive Rating Galore
Of five man player lineups in the league, the LA Clippers currently boast two of the highest offensive ratings of the top-5.
The first is the combination of Williams, Scott, Harrell, Teodosic and Gilgeous-Alexander. They have an offensive rating of 161.7.
The second involves Williams, Mbah a Moute, Tobias Harris (not a bench guy), Marjanovic and Gilgeous-Alexander. This group has an offensive rating of 154.2.
Okay, so the sample size is small, but it’s still impressive, right?
No? Okay, let’s look at four man lineups. Here, the Clips have the tenth best rating of 125.7. The four players? Williams, Scott, Harrell and Gilgeous-Alexander. This group can flat out score and actually even have a solid defensive rating of 95.6.
That doesn’t do it for you? How about the best offensive duo’s in the league. Guess what. The Clippers have two separate duos inside the top-25.
First is the combination of Gilgeous-Alexander and Williams. This duo’s offensive rating is 119.0. They come in at 19th in the league. The second group once again contains Gilgeous-Alexander but includes Harrell. Their rating is 118.7. Both of these duos rank above the likes of C.J. McCollum and Damien Lillard, Kris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
The Bench As Individuals
So, the commonality here is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Rookie of the Year? Maybe. But we’ll leave that for another article. SGA has an offensive rating of 116.0.
What’s even better? He currently ranks 18th in the league in plus/minus at +9.8. For single games, plus/minus is not always useful, but over the long-term, it can paint a better picture. Shai is bright spot off the bench. His playmaking and defensive prowess, even at his young age, has helped lead the best bench unit.
Lou Williams ranks just slightly below him at +9.5, good enough for 21st in the league. Everyone knows what the reigning Sixth Man of the Year is capable of, so we won’t dwell here too long. Just don’t be shocked when he brings home his third trophy this year (insert eyeball emojii).
The heart of the bench, Montrezl Harrell, is averaging a career-high 13.5 points in these six games. A big part of this high average came from his 30-point outburst in Houston. But that may not be fools gold. He followed up that game with a solid 13 point outing. No, it’s not quite half of what he scored, but he did so in just 16 minutes. Trezz is best in short bursts, but man are they some bursts. His energy cannot be contained and the bench will often go as he is going.
Unleashing the Boban is probably the best part of any Clippers game. Fans have begun to chant “We want Boban” during both home and away games. Doc Rivers has played him sparingly at only 9.3 minutes per game, but boy does he perform when he enters the game.
His Per 36 minutes stats are god-like at 32.8 points, 16.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. Unfortunately, being as big as he is, Boban doesn’t have a real shot at ever getting close to 36 minutes. Still, his short stints on the court can fluster teams and downright demoralize their big men as they just gawk at his size.
Bobi may not be the main factor in the bench’s success, but he definitely adds to their incredible depth.
I could go on and on about the Clippers having the best bench and I’m sure we will hit this topic again in the near future. But for now, just remember this bench dropped 85 points in Houston. They are a legitimate unit and provide little, if any drop off at all from the starting group.
The Clippers may not have any individual stars, but they sure do have a star bench that is by far the best in the NBA right now.