LA Clippers: Future outlook/predicting Serge Ibaka’s role next year

Serge Ibaka, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Serge Ibaka, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

Serge Ibaka‘s season with the LA Clippers could go multiple different ways.

We don’t know just yet if he’s going to be the starter or not. He was the starter at the center position for the first 39 games of his season, but when he got injured, Ivica Zubac became the starter by the time he got back.

Ibaka maybe would have started some games in the postseason, but injury issues kept him from playing hardly at all in the postseason.

Serge Ibaka needs to be the top rebounder on the LA Clippers next year.

If Serge Ibaka wants to start and remain the starter for the LA Clippers, he needs to go back to being a rebounding machine. He really wasn’t that last year, averaging just 6.7 rebounds per game. He averaged 8.2 in the past two seasons, so we know he’s capable of more.

That will be one of his major roles on this team next year. The Clippers were in the bottom half in rebounds per game last year, and Ibaka is going to be expected to do something about it. We only have one other center on the roster right now.

Regardless of whether Zubac or Ibaka starts, Ibaka needs to be crashing the boards on every possession. We’re already likely losing a good rebounder for his position in Kawhi Leonard for a big portion of the season.

On defense, Ibaka will be expected to go back to blocking everything, which he still did a decent job of last season. He did average over a block per game. He’s not the Ibaka that used to swat at least three every game anymore, but he can still get the job done.

His length will be needed, regardless of if he is chosen as the starter or not, to protect the paint. It’s something Ibaka needs to continue to be effective with, and a big part of what his role will be for next year.

Offensively, he’ll be expected to shoot at a high clip from three. That means he’ll need to be better with that than what he was this year. 33.9% isn’t going to be good enough.

He needs to hit that 35.9% career-mark at a minimum. Otherwise, Zubac is going to swipe all of his playing time.

Remember, Zubac was awarded the starting spot last season regardless of the fact that Ibaka did end up coming back at the end of the regular season. If Ibaka doesn’t do the things that Zubac doesn’t do, what advantage is there to having him in?

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Ibaka needs to shoot well next year and stretch the floor. It’s one of the major aspects of his role for next season, and if he can’t get that done, Ty Lue won’t be afraid to give Zubac more playing time.