LA Clippers: A big problem from last season could present itself again

So far this season, the LA Clippers are answering all the questions we had about them after their playoff exit. Will Paul George play better? Are there moves to make that will improve the roster? Will Ty Lue make that much of a difference when compared to Doc Rivers?

Everything has been answered in a positive way and yet, the Clippers may find themselves facing a similar issue to last season when the playoffs roll around.

The LA Clippers have to get healthy soon or they won’t have enough time on the court together.

Even though “load management” has gone away, the Clippers just have not been able to keep everyone on the court. Whether it be a freak injury like Kawhi Leonard‘s mouth laceration early in the season, Paul George’s toe edema, or Patrick Beverley‘s broken hand or long-persisting injuries like Leonard’s foot soreness or Serge Ibaka‘s back, the team just cannot get their roster together.

That isn’t to say the team hasn’t been good despite the injuries — they still sit in third with a puncher’s chance to even move up to the top seed — but when the playoffs come around, not having that consistency and on-court chemistry will matter.

Ibaka has not played since March 14. Beverley has played two games since March 11. Leonard has played in just one game since April 11. Others have been getting rested during games in hopes of preserving them for the playoffs. There has been a next man up mentality that works in the regular season but won’t fly in a few weeks when playoffs start.

Last season, we saw that the Clippers just didn’t have good chemistry built up due to the time missed by various players. It resulted in a lack of trust on the court and the team falling apart. While it seems like this roster is better equipped to handle themselves mentally, that basketball chemistry does have to form.

Rajon Rondo has to get time on the court with everyone. Ty Lue has to decide on rotation minutes with important decisions like who will be the starting center once Ibaka is healthy looming. With only eight games remaining in the regular season, the time to figure all of this out is almost out.

Luckily for the Clippers, most other teams are dealing with similar issues this season. The Lakers have played a long stretch without both Anthony Davis and LeBron James with the latter still not able to come back yet. The Nuggets are adapting to life without Jamal Murray. Phoenix is missing some role players.

While that does maybe give the Clippers a bit less of concern, they should still be worried. This team needs time to gel and time is running out. If they want to do everything in their power to avoid an elimination like last season, they need to get guys back and on the court as soon as possible.