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The Rise Of The Los Angeles Clippers

The Rise Of The Los Angeles Clippers

Begun as the Buffalo Braves in 1970 and then transformed into the San Diego Clippers in 1978, this NBA franchise has a long history, a short winning record, and a seemingly indomitable spirit. Despite celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2020, the LA Clippers have yet to take home a conference or championship title. In fact, to this day, the team’s highest accolade consists of two division titles taken in 2013 and 2014.

This abysmal record hasn’t been the result of poor willpower. In fact, despite their ample setbacks, it seems that this team, under the leadership of Doc Rivers, is poised to post an unbeatable record so long as external factors, injuries included, don’t set their all-star team back.

Rise to Relevance

Lob City

In 2011, two years before Doc Rivers would take over as head coach, the LA Clippers made huge moves toward building an all-star cast of basketball players. That year, the team acquired Chris Paul, and by the next year, top players like Blake Griffin and Paul were playing in the 2012 NBA All-Star Game.

From 2011 until 2016-17, the LA Clippers transformed into a team known as ‘Lob City’. During this time, strong teamwork between top players like Griffin, Paul, as well as DeAndre Jordan were enough to catapult the team into a franchise capable of posting winning records.
During these years, other pivotal changes helped to set the LA Clippers up for a full overhaul. This included the 2013 start of coach Doc Rivers, a former point guard in the NBA himself. It also saw the fall of owner Donald Sterling and the introduction of new ownership under Steve Ballmer, appointed by the NBA.

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Since the end of the Lob City era in 2017 and the start of new leadership under both Rivers and Ballmer, the LA Clippers have made a few serious updates on their roster. Griffin was traded in 2018, while Jordan chose to become a free agent in the same year after playing ten years with the Clippers. However, this made room for a 2019 cast of all-stars to move to the LA franchise.

Star Players

Kawhi and Paul George

In particular, Kawhi Leonard seems to be the Los Angeles franchise’s golden boy—though that title may well follow the athlete wherever he goes. Traded to the San Antonio Spurs in 2011, Leonard helped his team take the 2014 NBA Championship. However, when he was traded to the Toronto Raptors four years later in 2018, he also led them to their very first NBA Championship title the next year in 2019. If there’s anyone sweeping the Clippers’ NBA betting odds in the coming season with the potential to help the team take their first Championship win, it’s likely to be this small forward.

Paul George is another superpower on the LA Clippers. Despite numerous injuries that have seen the player ride the bench (and leave Leonard on the court to battle alone), Paul tends to offer the team that last-minute edge. Despite a few costly turnovers, he has a penchant for hitting last-second shots. Additionally, he has a strong attitude that leads the team on the court and in the locker room, which is the sort of skill that’s difficult to quantify on the court but nonetheless invaluable.

Lou Williams is another strong asset for the LA Clippers. Much like George, he’s a player that will continue hustling until the buzzer rings, and has a tendency to hit those necessary shots right before the buzzer sounds. A powerful scorer with a long and storied history in the NBA, Williams adds a steady and reliable quality to the team. For this consistency of play, he’s been named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year three times.

Montrezl Harrell is the final addition to the LA Clippers that makes the franchise a budding superpower on the West Coast and throughout the league. Standing at 6’7, Harrell is a power forward who’s penchant for putting away baskets has seemed to go into overdrive since joining the West Coast franchise following a trade from the Houston Rockets in 2017. Whatever Doc Rivers has done to this young player, it’s working.