LA Clippers 2019-20 Preview: Expectations are the highest in franchise history

LA Clippers (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
LA Clippers (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images) /
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LA ClippersLandry ShametPatrick Beverley (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
LA ClippersLandry ShametPatrick Beverley (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images) /

Player Development

Montrezl Harrell

While fans and media were focused on free agency and it’s the aftermath, the players were focused on one thing: improving.

Montrezl Harrell, coming off a career year for which he finished third in Sixth Man of the Year voting, set himself several goals for the summer. He wanted to work on both his body and game, citing the need to expand his range and to work on his ball-handling. The thought of Harrell adding that to an already strong offensive game was exciting.

From the tapes, it looks like he did it.

Harrell was constantly at Rico Hines runs working with other NBA players. The videos weren’t long nor did they show us the “bad” plays, but we saw glimpses of what Trezz could be.

When he wasn’t at Rico Hines, he was playing ball in the Drew League. In his debut, he scored a casual 24 points. After that, he got into an offensive dual with Trae Young, scoring 46 points. The three-ball looks to be there.

In fact, Trezz looked so good during these summer videos that I put out the bold statement that he could challenge Lou Williams for Sixth Man of the Year this season. Lou didn’t take it well (I don’t mean to divide! Friendly competition is a thing!).

I still stand by what I said:

"Coming off of a season where he averaged 16.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks, it’ll be amazing to see just how high his ceiling goes. Becoming a 20 point per game scorer isn’t out of the question, especially considering he only attempted 0.2 threes per game last season. With that tool in his repertoire, Harrell could be on his way to winning not only Sixth Man of the Year, but possibly the Most Improved Player Award."

Ivica Zubac

Ivica Zubac didn’t end the season how he wanted to. Due to his limited mobility, the 22-year-old was benched in the team’s playoff series. There wasn’t anything he could do at the moment, but he set out to work on himself during the summer. He signed a four-year deal worth $28 million to stay with the team and felt he owed it to them to improve.

Zubac posted on his Instagram videos of him working on his three-pointer. Take it with a grain of salt as he’s shooting against no defense, but the stroke looked good. He is a career 76% free throw shooter which is usually a positive indicator for one’s ability to shoot. He doesn’t need to be sitting outside like Brook Lopez, but having the ability to knock the shot down if left open will really open up the offense.

Zubac also worked to shed weight this summer and it appears to have worked. At Media Day, Zubac looked like he had slimmed down. He confirmed that over the summer he had changed his diet, which included giving up soda and desserts. If he’s able to keep the weight off, he may be able to get more playing time outside of starting each half. With a four year contract, the team hopes that is the case.

Landry Shamet

Speaking of body changes, Landry Shamet apparently took to the weight room this summer. The result? He got swole.

Shamet had an excellent rookie year, especially shooting. He’s already known as a sniper from deep, so he worked to improve his all-around game. Despite being a second-year player, he could be one of the most important pieces on the team. Sham has stated multiple times that he’s ready for whatever Doc throws at him. Could we see him as the point guard for the bench unit? Maybe. Could we see him driving and creating? Probably. Whatever the case, Shamet will be ready to produce.

He’s already a very smart player (one of the things Jerry West loved about him in pre-draft workouts) and can use that big brain to really expand his game.