LA Clippers: 3 most important players not named Kawhi Leonard or Paul George

LA Clippers' bench celebrates (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
LA Clippers' bench celebrates (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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LA Clippers, Ivica Zubac
LA Clippers Ivica Zubac (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Ivica Zubac

Ivica Zubac is probably not the third player you expected to see on this list. I have to assume you expected Montrezl Harrell to be here. The choice of Zubac is somewhat related to Trezz, though.

Trezz is just now cleared for basketball activities and while he will likely play in game one of the first-round series, we have to assume he will be on limited minutes until his conditioning comes back. In his absence, Zubac showed just how good he can be.

In the eight bubble games, Zu had three double-doubles, including a monstrous 21 points, 15 rebound outing versus the Dallas Mavericks. If Zu can continue to be a nightly double-double threat, the Clippers once perceived “weak” center rotation becomes quite the opposite.

We know Zu probably will eventually lose his fourth quarter minutes once Trezz is back in game shape but perhaps Doc will be a little less rigid and will evaluate who gets those late crunchtime moments on a nightly basis.

What really matters here for the Clippers is the number of elite big men in their path if they are to make it out of the Western Conference. The Mavericks have Kristaps Porzingis in the first round. In the second, the team could either face Nikola Jokic or Rudy Gobert. Finally, assuming the Lakers do make it to the Conference Finals, the Clips would have to deal with Anthony Davis.

Zubac has been a solid defender this year and his improved offensive game could keep him on the court longer. More time for him on the court allows Trezz to progressively get into shape and when he’s good to go, take longer breaks to really bring some energy off the bench. His one-two punch with Montrezl Harrell is a fun bubble improvement and will be awesome to watch.

Next. Three things to watch for versus the Dallas Mavericks. dark

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