Ranking 3 first-round matchups for the LA Clippers from least to most dangerous

Can the Clippers handle the Suns in the first round?
Can the Clippers handle the Suns in the first round? / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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2. New Orleans Pelicans

By contrast, the Pelicans won’t be so easy to out-scheme. If the Clippers try to go small, the Pelicans are equipped to counter them. Larry Nance Jr. is as useful of a small ball 5 as you’ll find in the NBA. Meanwhile, New Orleans is likely to start feeding Jonas Valanciunas as soon as Tucker steps into that 5 spot.  

The Pelicans have their own stable of defensive wings as well. Trey Murphy III and Herbert Jones are both suffocating at the point of attack. That’s why the Pelicans have a stout defense in their own right with the sixth-ranked DRtg in the NBA (111.7).

New Orleans has a two-way team. Their ORtg of 117.2 ranks eighth league-wide. Still, that might be their undoing against the Clippers. In simple terms, the Clippers’ offensive trio of James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George is stronger than Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum. On the other hand…