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Projecting 5 Los Angeles Clippers lineups that could bring destruction and terror in ’22-’23

Joaquin Ruiz
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Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue has no shortage of options when it comes to his lineups. As emphasized throughout the off-season, the team features depth all across the board and has top-tier talents that present versatility and intangibles.

Overwhelmingly talented, the Clippers’ true strength might even be found behind the stars — residing on an All-Star bench. Nonetheless, Los Angeles has a loaded roster and few weaknesses. It has one of the league’s best “death lineups,” and possibly has multiple depending on matchups.

On the topic of lineups, here’s a look at some of coach Lue’s best possible roster combinations in no particular order.

Related: 3 Los Angeles Clippers players with the most to prove in 22-23

1. Wall – Powell – George – Leonard – Covington

The top lineup would be a collaboration of hometown superstars and new kids on the block and appears to be a force to reckon with. Aside from taking the pressure off of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, this lineup sees high-quality players such as Norman Powell and John Wall being third and fourth options to score.

Having two dynamic bucket-getters being in the background of the team’s superstars is an unfair attribute, and that’s before considering the number of open threes Robert Covington would see (45%, ’21-22).

Giving coach Lue the modern “five out” offense allows the team to score wherever they desire. With Wall being the new facilitator, his ability to drive and kick would be greatly appreciated, unlocking a skillset he never got to utilize as the Wizards and Rockets’ “Batman.” It’s safe to say a lineup with this much star power is exactly what owner Steve Ballmer envisioned when purchasing the team back in 2014.

2. Jackson – George – Leonard – Morris – Zubac

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Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Old reliable. The core pieces from the 2021 Western Conference Finals team are back for business, giving coach Lue trust and familiarity on the hardwood. In the last regular season, the lineup was active, and it posted a +18.8 net rating over 215 minutes — proving to be an elite option for Los Angeles, and the second most common unit during that year, per Justin Russo.

This lineup was clicking throughout the ’21 playoff run but was unfortunately dismantled due to Leonard’s ACL tear in Game 4 against Utah. Minus Leonard, this unit saw time together in the ’21-22 season, also being split up because of shoulder injuries suffered by George.

Everyone on the floor would be teammates for over 3 years, experiencing extremely low and high points together. Serving as core Clippers and fan favorites, coach Lue can definitely turn here for confidence and know-how.

3. George – Leonard – Batum – Covington – Zubac

Here, Los Angeles would be rolling out a squad dependent on height. Perhaps the most unique, this lineup offers big, elite defense.

With no one below 6’7, George would be running the point for a quintuple of towers. This lineup should face no problems guarding bigger teams such as the Lakers or Timberwolves and would be intriguing to watch compress the floor. However, the unit may face some offensive woes with only two ball-handlers. But the defense would be suffocating and unfair, making it appealing to coach Lue. Opponents would truly have to work for a bucket.

4. Wall – Powell – Mann – George – Leonard

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Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Adding to the NBA’s reasoning for removing the advantages of the “take foul,” this group of high-flyers will dominate fast-breaks and shatter backboards.

Since being Clippers, Leonard and George have replaced “Lob City” with posters of their own. Powell, throughout stints in Toronto, Portland, and now Los Angeles, also has bunnies and will have the chance to show them off in a little over a month. The same goes for Wall, who although isn’t the same athlete as he was in the 2010s, still has some bounce left in the tank.

Even though it’s not the team’s best output on the court, it will probably be the most fun. Who doesn’t like dunks?

5. George – Kennard – Leonard – Batum – Covington

This last unit is compiled of the Clippers’ best shooters. These floor-spacers don’t give defenders any breathing room and also offer great off-ball movement.

Luke Kennard just led the NBA in 3-point shooting at about 45%. Batum was a consistent 40%, and Covington turned heads and shot above 40% himself. George and Leonard, although members of the respectable high 30% club, can increase their range when it counts as well. Lue would likely use this lineup in late-game situations when the team needs a quick triple, but it’s also fun to look at for potential longer stints of time.