In what was assumed to be a busy NBA trade deadline for the Los Angeles Clippers, it did not make any moves. It will finish out the regular season with its current roster. With 27 games left and a half game back of the eighth seed at 29-26, can the Clippers make a push for the playoffs?
After trading the face of the franchise, Blake Griffin, to the Detroit Pistons a week before the trade deadline, many assumed the Clippers were rebuilding. Since the trade, the Clippers are 4-2, including a 108-95 win against Griffin and the Pistons Feb. 9.
The Clippers acquired Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a 2018 protected first-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick for Griffin, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson. While trading Griffin made the Clippers lose a star, the addition of Harris and Bradley gives the team two quality starters with two different skill-sets.
Harris provides the Clippers with another scoring option, scoring a career-high 17.9 points per game on 45.1 percent shooting. Bradley gives the Clippers more guard depth and a lock down defender. He can defend the opposing teams best perimeter player while his teammates focus more on scoring. Even with his defensive intensity, Bradley is still an offensive option scoring 14.4 ppg. Early on, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers let the new additions know there is no time to waste during the playoff push.
“We have to come out of the games expecting to win,” said Rivers when the team’s new additions first arrived with the Clippers. “I said, ‘We’ll figure it out on the floor.’ I said, “But we have to play to win every game right now.’”
Williams is a scoring machine. A strong candidate for the All-Star game, Williams ranks in the top-20 in scoring with 23.2 ppg off the bench, including four 40-point games. Jordan is known to be one of the best defensive players in the NBA. The two-time first-team all-defensive center ranks in the top-25 in defensive rating at 104.2 while ranking second in rebounds with 15 per game.
The Clippers look to be in a good position to make the playoffs. According to PlayoffStatus.com, the Clippers have the seventh easiest strength of schedule remaining in the Western Conference. The current eighth seed, the New Orleans Pelicans, have the eighth easiest SOS.
While the Pelicans are without All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, who is out for the season with an Achilles injury, the Clippers can take advantage of this opportunity and find themselves back in the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.