The Los Angeles Clippers were bounced out of the play-in tournament this season, but that hasn’t scared many NBA personnel away from pegging them as potential title favorites for next season.
“In fact, many league personnel are already pegging them as a potential favorite for next season’s championship,” Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report wrote regarding the Clippers. “Kawhi Leonard should finally return from his prolonged ACL recovery. Add in the hopes of a full season from Paul George, plus the team’s trade deadline additions of Norman Powell and Robert Covington, and you have a formidable contender.”
During the 2021-22 regular season, Los Angeles finished with a respectable 42-40 record. They went on to lose to the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament.
There is little arguing against the sentiment that the Clippers overachieved this season. Considering the fact that they didn’t have Leonard for the entire season and George for much of the season, it’s quite an impressive feat that they managed to make the play-in tournament at all.
Still, history is certainly working against the Clippers’ favor. Despite the fact that the organization has worked very hard for many years to create a contending team, the Clippers have fallen short every year. In fact, they haven’t won a single Western Conference championship in their history.
The team has dealt with some epic collapses in the playoffs as well. L.A’s most recent collapse came in 2020 in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla. The Clippers had the Denver Nuggets against the ropes in the second round and were leading the series 3-1. The Nuggets then flipped a switch and won three straight games to pull off an epic comeback.
If the Clippers have any hope of winning a title next season, they will have to exorcise many demons from their past to get there. Only time will tell if they are able to win the 2023 NBA Finals.