LA Clippers: The team’s path in a 1-16 seeded NBA playoffs

LA Clippers (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
LA Clippers (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

The LA Clippers would face this path in a restructured NBA playoffs.

The LA Clippers, along with the rest of the NBA, still awaits a decision from the league on when play will resume and how it will look when it does. The league recently issued a survey to general managers with questions regarding competition formats for the return to action. Various scenarios were presented including, starting with the playoffs immediately, resuming the regular season, and a “Playoffs Plus” format that would hold a play-in tournament for the seventh and eighth seeds.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN floated the potential idea of reseeding the playoffs to the top 16 teams, regardless of conference. While Windhorst himself says this scenario is unlikely, it would create a playoff bracket that looks like this:

This would certainly create an interesting scenario for the Clippers, and their patch to a potential NBA title.

They’d open up the playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks, the same matchup they’d face in a two versus seven Western Conference playoff format. The Clippers are 2-0 against Dallas this season and have done a good job defensively shutting down their long-range shooting, as we’ve previously explored. The Clippers’ star power and depth should allow them to handle the Mavericks in a seven-game series with relative ease, even though they’d have to face MVP-candidate Luka Doncic.

From there, things get interesting, as they’d face an Eastern Conference opponent as early as round two of the playoffs. The Clippers would face off against the winner of the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers series. Both teams feature star power and challenges for the Clippers that could make them potential early-round playoff spoilers for their championship hopes.

The Celtics have the depth and star-power to match up well with the Clippers on both ends of the floor. They have split their head-to-head matchups this season with both games going down to the wire. The Clippers won 107-104 in overtime in Los Angeles on November 20 while Boston won at home 141-133 in double overtime on February 13.

The Clippers have also split the season series with the Philadelphia 76ers, taking a 110-103 loss on the road on February 11 while winning 136-130 at home on March 1. The Sixers have had a bit of a disappointing season so far and would enter these playoffs as the 12 overall seed. But a healthy Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons would make them a handful in a seven-game series.

The next potential matchup for the Clippers would most likely be the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that currently holds the number one record in the NBA. While the path to a championship might go through the Bucks, and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo anyway, having to match up against them before the NBA Finals would be less than ideal. Though the Clippers have lost both their matchups with the Bucks this season, they have the depth and talent necessary to compete and defeat them in a seven-game series.

But facing the Bucks early would certainly ware on the team before a potential NBA Finals matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Next. LA Clippers: Potential matchups for new-look NBA playoffs. dark

It would be a dream scenario, one that could only happen in a retooled and reformatted playoff system like this. But all the trash-talking and speculation would come down to a LA vs. LA battle for all the marbles. It most likely won’t happen. but we can dream about it for now.