One Player the LA Clippers Can Expose on Each West Contender

LA Clippers Montrezl Harrell (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Montrezl Harrell (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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LA Clippers Paul George
LA Clippers Paul George (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

As the LA Clippers get closer to the playoffs, it’s time to start thinking about thinking about whom they’ll face in the Western Conference Playoffs. With injuries pushing the Lakers down in seeding and likely pushing the Nuggets totally out of contention, the West feels more wide open than it’s been in recent memory.

The LA Clippers have one huge advantage going for them that should have us feeling more confident in our chances than last year: Coach Lue. Where last year, Doc Rivers ran basically the same gameplan and rotations no matter whom we were playing, Lue has shown that he’s willing and able to tinker and play around with rotations and schemes.

The LA Clippers will be more flexible this year than last, and they can aim to take advantage of certain matchups in the playoffs.

Last year, the opposite was true. Not to put the blame solely on one decision, because everyone contributed, but repeatedly forcing Montrezl Harrell to guard Nikola Jokic put the nail in the coffin for the LA Clippers. Against the Mavericks, Luka was feasting on Reggie Jackson, including the famous game winning three.

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This year, I expect Ty Lue to build a gameplan around each playoff series and to look for players he can expose on each team. Maybe not so much in the first round – if the first series is against a Portland or a Murray-less Nuggets team, raw talent should be enough to carry the day.

But moving into the second round and (knock on wood) beyond, Lue will need to figure out which players to attack. In my eyes, with the incredibly unfortunate Jamal Murray injury, there are four teams in the Western Conference who could make a finals run: the Phoenix Suns, the Utah Jazz, the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers.

Barring an upset, the LA Clippers will face a serious contender if they make the second round and the third round (which I expect, but I’m not tempting fate here by speaking certainties). Let’s dive on in to one player on each of those contenders that the Clippers can expose.