The LA Clippers advanced to their first Conference Finals in franchise history in 2021, but it will be a challenge to get back to that stage this upcoming season with All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard expected to miss significant time while recovering from ACL surgery.
How will their rotation take shape without their starting small forward?
LA opens the season on the road on Thursday, Oct. 21 against the Golden State Warriors.
|PG||Reggie Jackson||Eric Bledsoe||Jason Preston|
|SG||Terance Mann||Luke Kennard||Keon Johnson||Brandon Boston Jr.|
|SF||Paul George||Justise Winslow||George King||Kawhi Leonard*|
|PF||Marcus Morris Sr.||Nicolas Batum||Moses Wright|
|C||Ivica Zubac||Serge Ibaka*||Harry Giles III|
*Ibaka underwent back surgery in June 2021 and his status is unknown to begin the season.
* Leonard received surgery on a partially torn ACL in July 2021. He is out indefinitely.
Key additions and subtractions
The Clippers had some roster overturn this offseason, needing to replace key minutes played by Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo.
They re-signed Reggie Jackson to a two-year, $22 million deal to take over full-time starting point guard duties, and also received Eric Bledsoe in the trade that sent out Beverley, Rondo and former second-round pick Daniel Oturu.
They brought in three rookies through the draft in Keon Johnson, Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr., and also signed an undrafted free agent rookie in Moses Wright to add some frontcourt depth.
Lastly, the Clippers took a couple of swings on former Duke University stars in Justise Winslow and Harry Giles III to bring in some potential assets.
Because of the Clippers' positionless nature, their depth chart is tough to line up.
Will they start 2021 NBA Playoffs standout Terance Mann at shooting guard? Or do they see him as more of a reserve forward? If the answer is the latter, Eric Bledsoe should be in line to start at the two, but Luke Kennard is another player that could receive consideration as a starter.
It is unknown if Serge Ibaka will be ready for the start of the season after undergoing back surgery during the playoffs, but if he is, will he start at the four or will that job belong to Marcus Morris Sr.?
Justise Winslow and Harry Giles III should see some playing time off the bench in LA's thin frontcourt, but after a solid season from Nic Batum last year, it's hard to imagine either of those two would see playing time over the veteran forward.
The three rookie guards - Keon Johnson, Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr. - will all be competing against each other for any remaining backcourt minutes.
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