With the 2018-19 NBA season quickly approaching, we're rolling out 30 Teams in 30 Days. Between now and opening night, we're dedicating one day to each team in the league.
After looking at the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, we're shifting our Pacific Division focus to the Los Angeles Clippers.
2017-18 season record
42-40 (No. 10 seed in the Western Conference)
Projected 2018-19 season record
35.5 wins (No. 11 seed in the Western Conference)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (No. 11 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft)
Jerome Robinson (No. 13 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft)
Marcin Gortat (trade)
Mike Scott (free agency)
Luc Mbah a Moute (free agency)
DeAndre Jordan (free agency)
Austin Rivers (trade)
3 key storylines
Are the Clippers a playoff team?
The Clippers were two different teams last season.
Whereas they had a 16-19 record heading into the New Year, Los Angeles closed the season out by winning 26 of their final 47 games, putting them in the running for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
While they missed out on the playoffs by a total of five games, they enter this season with largely the same roster that put together that impressive run - minus DeAndre Jordan, of course, the franchise's starting center from 2010-11 onwards.
Was that a sign of what's to come for the Clippers? We should find out soon, as they open the season with matchups against the Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans, four teams projected to finish ahead of them in the standings.
The development of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
In his lone season at Kentucky, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander showed that he has the potential to be a special player in the NBA.
The Canadian even received votes from his fellow rookies for "Which rookie will have the best career?" and "Which rookie is the best playmaker?" in NBA.com's annual rookie survey.
Gilgeous-Alexander might not start the 2018-19 season with a defined role on the Clippers, but he's landed in a perfect situation to develop into a two-way monster and make the 11 teams that passed up on him in the 2018 NBA Draft regret their decision.
This could apply to just about every team in the league, but the injury bug hit the Clippers harder than most last season, with Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic each missing extended time with various ailments.
Of the four, Bradley and Gallinari are the most important for the Clippers moving forward. Having re-signed Bradley to a $25 million contract this offseason and Galinari to a $65 million contract last offseason, the veterans are now two of the four highest paid players on the team.
If both of them can stay relatively healthy this season, Los Angeles might just find themselves in the playoff race once again.
5 games to watch
Oct. 21 vs. Houston Rockets
Chris Paul has already made his return to return to Los Angeles as a visitor, but some of his worst performances in 2017-18 came against his former team. Expect a statement game from Paul even though the Rockets play the Clippers on the second night of a back-to-back.
Nov. 12 vs. Golden State Warriors
For whatever reason, the Warriors bring out the best in Lou Williams. In four games against the defending champs last season, Williams averaged 27.8 points and 6.3 assists per contest. His best performance came on Jan. 10, when he scored a career-high 50 points on 8-for-16 shooting from 3-point range.
Does the dynamic guard have another masterpiece in him? History says he might, which makes each of the four games the Clippers play against the Warriors this season a must-watch.
Dec. 20 vs. Dallas Mavericks
This will be DeAndre Jordan's first game playing against the Clippers in Los Angeles as a visitor. Jordan was selected with the 35th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Clippers and developed into an All-Star, as well as an All-NBA defender, during his years with the franchise.
Dec. 28 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
It's always fun when the Clippers play against the Lakers. Adding to the intrigue of this particular matchup: Patrick Beverley and Lonzo Ball should both be healthy at this point of the season. After what happened in their one and only head-to-head matchup last season, that alone makes this game worth your time.
Jan. 12 vs. Detroit Pistons
Another reunion game, this time with Blake Griffin returning to the Staples Center for the first time as a visitor when the Detroit Pistons travel to Los Angeles. Griffin is one of the greatest Clippers of all-time, with averages of 21.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists in his seven full seasons with the franchise.