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NBA insider offers glowing praise of Los Angeles Clippers, evaluating team’s NBA title chances

Joaquin Ruiz
NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers will enter the 2022-’23 season healthy with a talented roster and deep bench pushing them near the top of NBA power rankings. With the pieces finally all coming together, Clipper Nation has been patiently waiting for the team to finally hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy. 

It’s been easy to write off Los Angeles as injuries suffered by key players have lowered the team’s ceiling in back-to-back years.

Kawhi Leonard’s ACL tear ended the team’s last two playoff runs and Paul George’s torn UCL hasn’t made matters any easier. Now, with the duo returning alongside the deepest Clippers roster in history, Steve Ballmer’s squad has the chance to open the Intuit Dome with a championship banner hanging in the rafters.

After years of tweaking the roster and fighting through timely injuries, NBA insiders believe that the Clippers’ time is now, more than ever.

Related: 50 Top NBA players of 2022 – Stephen Curry leads the charge after brilliant season

On Wednesday, ESPN NBA insider and analyst went against the survey of reporters picking Golden State to win the Western Conference next season. Instead, Marks agreed with colleague Tim Bontemps, predicting the Clippers to be dominant while breaking their franchise record for wins in a season.

“I hope Draymond’s not watching this because I’m all on the Clippers bandwagon, also. I think they’re gonna win 60 games this year. I think they got two of the best players in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Their depth is unmatched…I like this team on paper right now.”

Bobby Marks on the 2022-’23 Los Angeles Clippers

Marks’ take is spot on. Los Angeles is poised to contend for the championship, granted they see continuous health. The front office is elite, the roster is deep and the stars are back in Hollywood. All that’s missing is the trophy itself. However, it’s likely the Clippers bring [it] home as they’re one of the best teams in the game.  

Why the Los Angeles Clippers will be one of the best NBA teams in 2022

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Clippers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Klaw wears “Clippers” across his chest and is fully healthy, according to reports. Those facts alone should make fans giddy, as it was clear how close the team was to reaching the finals with him just two seasons ago. The last time Clipper Nation saw Leonard play, he averaged 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game during the 2021 playoffs. The former San Diego State star is back and should be in the MVP conversation alongside George once the season starts.

Adding to the return of big names, the Clippers welcomed John Wall back to the NBA. Signed in early July, the former All-Star returns after being banished by the tanking Houston Rockets. A friend of George, Wall fits in with the Clippers’ defensive-minded approach, also adding a flare of playmaking that the team’s offense desperately needed. During his 2021 campaign, the point guard averaged 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game. 

“I don’t have to do it every night, I don’t have to be Batman every night for us to win.”

Los Angeles Clippers guard John Wall (H/T ESPN)

Expecting the least amount of focus from opposing defenses in his career, Wall will thrive under head coach Ty Lue this season.

In arguably the most underrated trade of the year, Los Angeles acquired guard Norman Powell and forward Robert Covington from the Portland Trail Blazers. Giving away nothing important to the current timeline, the Clippers added another Raptor from the championship ’19 team and a versatile floor-spacing defender to complement the roster.

This move in particular gives the team the third scorer that’s been missing since the split from sixth-man Lou Williams, while also giving the Clippers a knockdown shooter who can guard 1-5. As the definition of a supporting cast, the ex-Blazers will have important roles in helping the team’s stars. 

As emphasized, the Clippers are deep. the team has retained key role players such as forward Nicolas Batum and center Ivica Zubac, in addition to controlling snipers Luke Kennard and Marcus Morris Sr. for years to come. There is no anchor on the roster, both on the court and financially. 

With swingmen Terance Mann, Amir Coffey, and Brandon Boston Jr. not even listed, it’s evident that the Clippers are oozing with talent at every position. Young, old, there isn’t a weak link on the roster. If anything, the only downside is that Ty Lue has to find the formula to utilize every player appropriately while racking up wins. 

The distance from October’s start of the season is slowly shrinking. As free agency is at a stand-still, fans can’t wait for basketball to resume. For Clippers fans, waiting is nothing new. 

In 2022-’23, the waiting will pay off for Clipper Nation.