Check-In with the Clippers
The 2016-17 season for the Los Angeles Clippers was successful. They finished fourth in the NBA Western Conference with a 51-31 record. Most of the success has been attributed to the trio of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Paul led the team in both assists and steals, Griffin led the team in points, and Jordan had the most rebounds and blocks.
With Griffin taking on the main role for the Clippers this season and the team getting players like Lou Williams, Patrick Beverly, and Sam Dekker in the offseason, many had high hopes with the talented new cast of players. But this 2017-18 season so far has underperformed many analysts' expectations.
Although ESPN projected the Clippers to win about 49 games this season, similarly to last season, the L.A. Clippers are currently sitting at 10th in the Western Conference with a 10-15 record. This came after star player Chris Paul moved to the Houston Rockets, the team currently first in the Western Conference with a 21-4 record.
Griffin played in 19 out of the 25 games so far before he received a toe injury, causing him to be out for six games and possibly the rest of 2017. His injury comes at a great cost to the Clippers, as he was leading the team in both points and assists.
After Griffin's injury, the team went from a 5-2 record to 7-11. The next six games without Griffin had the Clippers go 2-4.
Williams is leading the team in scoring with Griffin's absence, and Jordan is leading the team rebounds and blocks. The Clippers are showing some progress after winning their last two games against the Washington Wizards (14-12) and Toronto Raptors (17-8), who are respectively sitting at 6th and 3rd in the Eastern Conference.
But their 10-15 record makes the Clippers appear to have a losing season. With Patrick Beverly and Griffin suffering injuries, Coach Rivers is slowly losing support from both fans and administration, having lost his front office job earlier this year so he can focus solely on coaching.
As the season continues, the Clippers must look ahead and try to finish this year strong. The Clippers do not have an easy schedule by any means, with challenging games against the Washington Wizards on Dec. 15, San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 18, and Houston Rockets on Dec 22.
Hoping not to lose any more players due to injuries, they will look to build on their previous wins and look forward to Griffin returning, who signed a $173 million dollar contract last summer.