Clippers 2019-20 Season Win Total: Can Kawhi Leonard & Co. Run the West?
LA Clippers Twitter. Pictured: Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard.
- Prior to the 2019-20 NBA season, Matt Moore (@HPBasketball) analyzes each team's win total odds.
- Below, Matt provides a case for the over and under + gives his confidence rating for the Los Angeles Clippers' win total this year.
All odds as of Thursday. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Los Angeles Clippers Win Total
The Case for the Over (53.5, PointsBet)
Ask anyone inside the league on background who the best team will be this season, and the majority of, if not all, the answers will be the Clippers.
Coaching, depth, offense, defense, purpose, motivation — you name it, the Clippers have it. They have young guys for energy like Landry Shamet and Ivica Zubac. They have veteran suave from Lou Williams. They have hustle and muscle from Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell.
And they have the third-place MVP finisher from last season in Paul George and the two-time NBA Finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard.
George has never been a player dead set on being the guy but is also the guy who jumps off the screen at you. Leonard gets to be the best player and the franchise icon while George handles being spokesman and media darling.
They’re both thrilled to be home and building their own kingdom.
They can switch and lock you down, they can blitz and smother all your oxygen, they can rotate and recover and they will lead the league in deflections and steals.
The offense may have some questions, but they have so many guys who can score on their own. Even if the sets don’t work, when the offense resets it’s still Paul George or Kawhi Leonard going at you one-on-one and don’t you dare send a double because the other one will make you pay for it.
They may start slow and surge toward the end. There’s enough continuity from last year left over for them to figure out things when they need to. Their closing schedule ranks just 21st from the All-Star break on.
You’re banking on talent, and it’s great talent to bank on.
The Case for the Under (56.5, DraftKings)
Man, where do I start?
Right off the bat, Paul George is not ready to go after offseason surgery on both shoulders. He told reporters at media day he was aiming for mid-November, but shoulders are tricky and prone to re-injury. If that drags until December, that could be a hole they can’t recover from.
Kawhi is not expected to be on load management. But even after a gentle season workload-wise, Leonard had leg problems in the playoffs. This may simply be something he deals with consistently — having to miss games to make sure his knees and legs don’t suffer a significant injury.
There’s the continuity problem. Yes, the rest of the Clippers played together (for a few months) last season, but not with PG and Kawhi, who are now the engines of the team. There are growing pains with new teams like this. Even just Leonard and PG figuring out how to fit together can be problematic, let alone how to work in everyone else.
Shamet is legitimately good but also young, and there are reasons to be a little skeptical he’s suddenly Ray Allen 2.0. Zubac’s defense looks great in numbers but contextually and watching him, you see a lot of problems with making the right rotation.
Beverley’s good but temperamental and very quietly will get lost in off-ball defensive situations, which he’ll be in a lot more with PG and Kawhi taking the primary threats defensively. Go back and watch how the Spurs moved Tony Parker off-ball in the 2017 Spurs-Rockets series for more on that.
Lou Williams had the best assist rate and Net Rating of his career last year; how likely is it he repeats that at age 33?
The rest of the bench (Moe Harkless, Patrick Patterson, JaMychal Green) are all capable of being good players — especially Green — but none strike real fear in an opponent.
Coupled with all this? They have the 11th-toughest schedule the first two months and the fifth-toughest in October and November, when George won’t be back yet.
- The pick: Under 56.5
- Confidence: 8 out of 10
I have a lot of confidence this team will be the “best team in the league” by season’s end, but I don’t think the record will reflect that. They’re playing the long game. They know they can win a title, and Doc Rivers has been around enough to know not to burn your best players on a meaningless regular-season win when you’re worried about June.
A tough opening schedule, combined with growing pains and George’s injury, against a sky-high number as high as 56.5, makes the under an easy play for me.