This offseason the Clippers had a huge change in personnel, with only 5 players remaining from last year's team. Many old faces are gone and new faces look to take this team to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. While many believe that the Clippers got substantially worse losing the best PG in their history, they actually got better in many areas that limited their ability to have postseason success.
(#) denotes the number of seasons played, including 2017-2018.
PG: Milos Teodosic (R) Austin Rivers (6) Juwan Evans (R)
SG: Patrick Beverley (6) Lou Williams (13) DeAndre Liggins (5) Sindarius Thornwell (R)
SF: Danilo Gallinari (9) Sam Dekker (3) Wesley Johnson (8)
PF: Blake Griffin (8) Montrezl Harrell (3) Brice Johnson (2)
C: DeAndre Jordan (10) Willie Reed (3)
Only Austin Rivers, Wesley Johnson, Brice Johnson, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan remain from last year's team. This means that the team will likely experience growing pains at the start of the season as the 10 new players get accustomed to Doc Rivers' system. However, look for Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell to have breakout years as a result of their increased roles being the first men off the bench for their positions.
- Played the least amount of games since 2006, not counting the 2011-2012 lockout-shortened season
- Was joining Rockets no matter what but the Clippers negotiated a sign & trade in order to get something back
- Finished 2016-2017 season averaging 18.1 PPG, 5 RPG, and 9.2 APG on 47% FG and the highest TS% of his illustrious career
- Clippers were 8-13 in games he missed
- Is at the tail end of his career (37 years old)
- Lowest PPG since 2002-2003
- Lowest points/36 since 2005-2006 season
- Got rid of his $13 million contract
- Low defensive value
- Ball was in hand 12% of the time but resulted in only .929 points per possession, lowest amongst key players
- Very good shooter late in the shot clock, he had 44.2 aFG%* with less than four seconds on the shot clock
- Was going to get paid (currently making $23 million this season with the Philadelphia 76ers)
- Averaged 15 PPG, 1.4 APG, 2.2 RPG in 28 MPG
- Plays involving him resulted in 1.099 points per possession (only DeAndre Jordan was higher amongst key players)
- Excellent transition shooter (had 69.1% aFG%)
- Great spot up shooter (61.8% aFG%)
- Didn't need to have the ball in his hand to be useful (only was in isolation 1% of the time and pick and roll ball handler 7.2% of the time)
- Underrated Defender (opponents shot below 40% when he was the primary defender)
- Voted best non-NBA player by NBA Coaches in 2016
- Euro player of the year
- Euro MVP, 3x Euroleague 1st team, 3x Euroleague 2nd team
- Averaged 16 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 6.8 APG
- Averaged 21 Points/36 and 9 Assists/36
- Knows how to run a team-oriented offense as a result of the European style of play
- Unproven in the NBA
- Lackluster defense
- 9.5 PPG, 6 RPG, 4.2 APG
- Likely to start at SG so doesn't need to have a massive impact on offense
- Played alongside Milos Teodosic for one year in Europe
- Low volume shooter which means he can focus on defensive presence
- Pest to opponent's team and has an ability to get inside their head
- 18.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.1 APG 44% FG
- Steadily improving FG%
- Health is a big question mark (hasn't played more than 63 games in a season since 2012-2013)
While the loss of Chris Paul and J.J Redick is a big blow to the Clippers, they were able to improve by increasing their depth and bolstering their roster with young players eager to prove themselves. The team's signing of Gallinari helped patch a hole at SF that I believe has been the primary reason they've yet to make the conference finals. While CP3 is definitely better than Teodosic and Beverley, those two combined cover up each other's weaknesses. Teodosic's fault is his lackluster defense and Patrick Beverley is capable of covering up that hole in Teodosic's game.
Money is more spread out as a result of getting rid of Crawford's contract which means instead of one good player, the Clippers were able to get multiple decent players in Teodosic, Beverley, and Gallinari. They have multiple young players who are capable of playing extended minutes in Johnson, Dekker, Harrell, and Reed. This allows Blake Griffin to get some much-needed rest in order to not cause another injury from overworking him.
While many believe the Clippers got worse, they actually got better by adding depth and increasing the overall talent which will take them to the Conference Finals and possibly further.
*aFG% is adjusted Field Goal Percentage ( [FGM + (3PM/2)]/FGA ).