At what point should the LA Clippers be concerned?

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The LA Clippers have been quite disappointing during the regular season; is it time to question whether they have what it takes to put it all together?

I’m not gonna lie, this one hurts to write.

Reader beware, my opinion comes with a bit of bias within its lines. Being an LA Clippers fan ever since I began watching this great sport, waking up to the news that we had signed Kawhi Leonard AND traded for Paul George was honestly one of the top moments of my year (which maybe says more about my year than it does the gravitas of the acquisitions).

Clipper nation had so much anticipation going into this season. The unstoppable behemoth that was the Golden State Warriors had been brought down, and hope for a possible road to the championship began to spark in teams across the league. The Clippers were right in the middle of that conversation considering our world-class defensive trio of Patrick Beverly, Leonard, and George.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I still consider the Clippers to be one of the top teams in the NBA in terms of who will be hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy come June. That being said, this last stretch of games has been quite underwhelming considering the lofty expectations and potential to be an absolute powerhouse.

Kawhi, per usual, has been outstanding. He’s currently averaging 27.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists, all of which would be career-highs if the season were to end today. These numbers come right along with the elite defensive play that is common for the two-time DPOY (Defensive Player of the Year), who is also fifth in the NBA in steals per game (1.8).

This time is just not coming together as smoothly as some might have expected. Paul George has only played 34 out of a possible 56 games, only 24 of which have been played alongside Leonard. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell‘s pick and roll combo has been good, but just not the unstoppable force that it was last season.

Even with the absence of George and Beverly in the loss against the Kings, it was still a disappointment to lose at home to a team that is comfortably outside of the playoff picture.

Let me reiterate my faith in the squad that Los Angeles has. They can become an absolute wrecking ball defensively and Kawhi is the one player I would want in a close playoff series. He has shown to shine brightest in the biggest moments and I fully expect that to be the case in the future.

The role players still need to mesh better with Kawhi. The clip of his frustrated reaction to Landry Shamet not cutting to the basket on a fast break made its way around social media and is not a pleasant sight for those of us who hold an irrational emotional connection to the success of this basketball team.

Maybe I’m just panicking at nothing. It’s possible I am just a nervous fan who is screaming their fears into the abyss that is the internet. The Clippers are still a favorite to win the championship, they have arguably the most defensive talent in one lineup and it is still their first season adjusting to having the two big stars.

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But 5-5 in the last 10 games does not make me feel good. Two of those were to the Kings and another to the Timberwolves, games that are important to take care of business in a competitive upper echelon of the Western Conference. Putting all the pieces together is a must and, with the playoffs on the horizon, doing just that is becoming more and more of an urgency.