2018 Los Angeles Clippers Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
This, along with the Heat and the Timberwolves, the Los Angeles Clippers is a preview I have held off on writing because of the endless Jimmy Butler saga and the potential he could wind up here. That would change a lot for this team, but I am done waiting for it. It might happen, but we'll deal with that when it happens. And at this point I hope it doesn't happen for the sake of this team. It's just not what they need right now.
They are the kind of team at this point that really annoys me. After trading Blake Griffin - and really, before that, and before Chris Paul saw the neon writing on the wall and left - it was clear to the outside world that it was time to regroup, deploy some TNT, and rebuild from the rubble. The current path was only to mediocrity, and significant change was needed. But the team doesn't see it that way. Instead, they are doing enough to be too good to get a great draft pick but not enough to actually be competitive. They seem to be assigning themselves to competitive Siberia, and in the absolutely brutal Western Conference, where they can no longer even claim to be the best team in their own building, that is not a good place to be. It's almost as if they have chosen their current path because they lack the self esteem to believe that more could be possible for them down the road - which, incidentally, is also why they still employ Doc Rivers.
The Clippers were at the forefront of the Big Three revolution. But Paul left, Griffin was traded, and DeAndre Jordan finally went to Dallas like he should have in the first place. That whole era is gone. And in a league that is more star driven than ever, they are a team without a star. They tried to portray Tobias Harris as a star during the Jimmy Butler drama, but the difference between a very nice player - which Harris is - and a true star is significant. And he's the best they have - the nicest player on a roster of nice players. Any nice guy out there will tell you how well that works out with the ladies, and the experience is no different in the NBA. The Clippers are the most likeable they have been in a long time and probably the least relevant.
I don't want to be completely negative. Harris is a nice offensive player. The return of Luc Mbah a Moute after a year in Houston brings back a stellar defensive force. And it stuns me that Mbah a Moute is only 32 as it seems like he has been in the league for seven decades. Lou Williams is a gem off the bench. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a youngster I am excited about, and not just because he is a fellow Canadian. Patrick Beverley could be useful again now that he is healthy. And so on. All is not lost. This is not Atlanta. It's just that they won't frighten the Warriors. Or the Rockets. Heck, they won't really frighten Portland or Denver in all likelihood. And that right there is the problem.
2018 Los Angeles Clippers Additions and Departures
The highlight of the offseason would likely be winding up with Gilgeous-Alexander, the Kentucky point guard, in the draft. He was selected 11th by Charlotte, but the Clippers immediately traded their 12th pick, Miles Bridges, and two second-round picks, for the guard. It's hard to argue with that deal, nor with the instinct to grab a point guard in maybe the deepest point guard draft we have seen. He may not be the next Paul, but he certainly has the potential to look like a draft steal down the road. The team also picked shooting guard Jerome Robinson of Boston College right after they picked Bridges. The 13th pick looked good in Summer League alongside Gilgeous-Alexander and has looked solid in the preseason. In an ideal world the team will have wrapped up their backcourt of the future within 10 minutes of draft time. These are good moves and by far the easiest things to be excited about going forward.
Beyond that there were no blockbuster moves but plenty of shuffling. Austin Rivers is gone to Washington, replaced by Marcin Gortat. The butt of jokes early, he had developed into a very useful piece, but the distance from dad is probably a good thing for him. Some draft rights were traded around, but mostly guys who will be buried for some time yet. And Mike Scott, an unremarkable but decent bench piece, is now on the team.
2018 Los Angeles Clippers Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds (from Bovada) : +25000
Western Conference title odds : +10000
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ROY Odds: +3000
Season win total: 36.5
The team was 42-39-1 ATS, which was just short of a break-even win rate. The money was found in the total, though, where the "over" was 44-37-1. That made them the fourth-most-profitable over team in the league.
2018 Los Angeles Clippers Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
They will win more than 30 games. They could easily win 40. Maybe even a couple more. But the absolute best-case scenario is to steal the last playoff spot and then get crushed lifeless in the first round by a much, much better team. They just aren't good enough to care about in a real way. I guess I would take the over on the season win total, but only to make Clippers fans in my life feel better. There is no value here.
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