LA Clippers: Takeaways, expectations and fears at the halfway point

LA Clippers (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LA Clippers (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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LA Clippers
LA Clippers (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

First Half Takeaways

Ryan Snellings

We have the pieces. It’s that simple. Even as our site looks at every trade rumor surrounding this team, I don’t think one is necessary. Moving Maurice Harkless is the likely option if we make a trade, but what are you bringing in that is that much better?

When both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard play, the team is 14-4. Call me crazy, but that seems pretty great. Whether it’s one of those two missing games or players like Landry Shamet or JaMychal Green missing time with energy, we really have not seen this team at full strength for much time at all.

With that simple fact in the back of my mind, I think this team can compete and win. What were the biggest concerns starting the season? A lack of a big man and playmaking. Well, Ivica Zubac has been better than any of expected and the team seems to be making due with playmaking by committee.

Could a trade be found? Sure. But it’s not needed. The roster is constructed well just the way it is.

More from Clipperholics

Brian Cullen

Are the defensive Clippers and the offensive Clippers even the same team? Has anyone seen in the same arena at the same time? All jokes aside, it’s been a tale of two teams for a lot of the season for the LA Clippers.

They started the season looking like the defensive juggernaut everyone expected them to be but struggled to find their offense. Then they put together some great offensive games but lost their defensive footing. It feels like it’s been that way for the majority of the first half. On the occasions that things have clicked on both ends of the court, the Clippers look absolutely unstoppable.

A lot of the inconsistency in play can be tied directly to the inconsistency of cast. This team has dealt with an array of injuries and illnesses. Hell, even a baby was born. Despite all of that, they are still competing for a top spot in the Western Conference. All things considered, it has been really impressive what his team has been able to do while only being at full strength for one game.

My other big takeaway is the lack of joy. Not so much from the team, but from fans. The team has recently put together a string of games that have left a sour taste in Clipper Nation’s mouth. But midseason lulls are a normal thing. It happened to the Clippers last year.

Max, a good buddy of mine, put it perfectly: Expectations are a prison.

The fact that this team is contending for a title has heightened everyone’s anxiety, likely a syndrome of watching the Lob City runs at putting their own banner in Staples. If everyone can take their eyes off the Larry for just a little bit, ignore whatever that other LA team is doing, and watch this team for what it is- a great team in the making, ironing out shortcomings, slowly piecing together something special- I really think they would start having a better time.

Joseph Raya-Ward

First Half Takeaway: This team is really, really good.

While everyone is up in arms about the last 10 games, I prefer to look at the bigger picture. This team, for all its frustrating habits, is still one of the best teams in the NBA. After 40 games, the Clippers are 27-13. They rank 6th in the NBA in Offensive Rating, 7th in Defensive Rating, and 5th in Net Rating. They also own the 7th best True Shooting Percentage, 4th best Rebounding Percentage (!!!), and are 5th in Defensive Field Goal Percentage.

Have they slipped a little here and there in their effort and execution? Sure. But even with those nights, the team still ranks at the top of the league in important metrics. In other words, this team is still one of the main contenders for the title this season.

Adjusting to the pressure of being a title favorite has definitely been difficult for a lot of Clipper Nation, but it’s important to take a breath and look at the bigger picture: this team is deep, well-coached, and has two super-star level players. Just repeat after me: this team is really, really good.