With about a week to go before the start of training camp across the NBA, many teams are feeling optimistic about their chances of being successful this coming season.
One team that is feeling confident and possibly pushing the line of cockiness is the Los Angeles Clippers, a squad that had to suffer through a lost year last season while Kawhi Leonard was out due to a partially torn ACL.
But he is expected back, and he will be joining one of the most talented teams in the NBA, at least on paper.
It is a team that some are picking to reach the NBA Finals and possibly even win the world championship.
One such pundit is former NBA player Kendrick Perkins, who rationalized his pick by pointing out a strength the Clippers have.
LA Clippers favorites to reach NBA Finals?
@KendrickPerkins says “Hell yeah!”
“The Los Angeles Clippers are my favorites to win it all,” he shared on @BallySports.
“They’re stacked at the most important positions in the NBA!” pic.twitter.com/lnDaSf9FJj
— 👑 Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson (@ScoopB) September 14, 2022
“No other team has the depth like the Los Angeles Clippers at the wing position and has two-way players like the Clippers,” Perkins told Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson. “Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Robert Covington, Nicolas Batum, Norman Powell. That’s five guys at the perimeter position.”
The Clippers Are Certainly Stacked At The Wing Position
Other than point guard, the most important position in the NBA is the wing, as such players can play either the 2 or 3 and sometimes also the 4 while guarding multiple positions.
Los Angeles certainly has its share of high-level players there.
Leonard has been one of the NBA’s true superstars for several years there, not just on the offensive end, as he has averaged 25.7 points per game in his last five seasons, but also on defense.
The last time Kawhi Leonard played NBA basketball.
Ian Eagle on the call. pic.twitter.com/LUXQAfMhNW
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) September 15, 2022
The Southern California native has made seven All-Defensive teams throughout his career, and he is poised to make at least one more.
Leonard is joined on the Clippers’ frontline by Paul George, a 6-foot-9 forward who will provide a consistent 20-25 points each night while hounding opposing players on the other end as well.
Robert Covington, whom they acquired last season, is a 3-and-D specialist who can cover the other team’s best forward, freeing Leonard and George of that responsibility.
In addition, guard Norman Powell is a legitimate scoring threat, as is Marcus Morris off the bench, while Nicolas Batum is yet another 3-and-D forward.
As has been the case the last three years, the Clippers have tremendous length throughout their roster and the potential to be a very good defensive unit.
The Questions/Concerns About The Clippers
However, people such as Perkins should pump their brakes a bit when it comes to their swag regarding the Clippers.
As it stands, the team has several question marks and possibly some significant weaknesses.
For one, Leonard is injury-prone, and he has a chronic quad condition that some believe may be degenerative, as well as other perpetual injury concerns.
He can be penciled in to miss about 15-25 games a season simply to rest him and prevent such ailments from flaring up.
George has also had trouble staying healthy, as he has played in just 133 of a possible 226 games in his three seasons with L.A.
The big positional weakness the team has had has been at point guard, and to try to rectify that issue, it signed veteran John Wall earlier this offseason.
But Wall suffered a torn Achilles a few years ago, and before sitting out all of last season, he shot just 40.4 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from 3-point range during the 2020-21 campaign.
The chances of someone like him who tore his ACL returning to form aren’t exactly great.
The Clippers could very well win it all, but there is probably at least one other team that has a better chance of doing so.