Ranking the LA Clippers preferred first round opponents

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard
LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

3) Utah Jazz

On paper, the Utah Jazz is a scary team. They feature a budding young superstar in Donovan Mitchell, an annual Defensive Player of the Year contender in Rudy Gobert, and a plethora of role players capable of knocking down shots and playing defense.

Why are they only number three then?

In short, they have been terrible.

When the team added Mike Conley to an already sturdy playoff team, many thought the Jazz were a darkhorse contender in the West. Injuries derailed the start of Conley’s season, he was benched and then unbenched in the matter of a day, and the team has floundered.

So far this season, the Jazz have beaten the Clippers two out of three contests. The first victory came early in the season on the second night of a back-to-back in which Kawhi Leonard did not play and Paul George also missed as he recovered from shoulder surgery.

The Clippers’ lone victory came just days later. This time, Kawhi was available, pouring in 30 points. The bench also came up big with three players scoring in double-digits. The second loss, 120-107, Montrezl Harrell was not available.

The Jazz have the depth to hang with the Clippers. Joe Ingles now comes off the bench with Jordan Clarkson. Bojan Bogdanovic can get buckets when Donovan Mitchell isn’t and Mike Conley is a “do it all” point guard. If they hadn’t fallen apart so recently, I would be more scared.

But, they have. The team is so up and down, having losing streaks of four and five games since January. While they have the potential to be good, it’s late in the season and them coming together magically and figuring it out seems unlikely. The Jazz would definitely steal at least a game from the Clippers but should still be a relatively easy out.