L.A. Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder
Time: 7 PM CT (NBA TV)
Spread: OKC -5
Odds c/o 5dimes
Los Angeles may have dealt superstar Blake Griffin, but it still retained leading scorer Lou Williams and re-signed him to a contract. He is averaging 23.3 points 2.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 32.5 minutes a night. The Clippers seemingly have just slid new acquisition Tobias Harris directly into the role once occupied by Griffin, and the role has been a revelation for Harris.
Through his first two games (both wins) he averaged 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and two assists per game while posting a PER of 17.4. Albeit, those figures are all shy of what Griffin did, but not tremendously so. Pairing Harris along with sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari gives the Clips a good 1-2 scoring punch in the frontcourt, and Austin Rivers is really pretty damn good for a guy who had already been billed a bust.
This year, Rivers is averaging 15.8 points and 3.6 assists per game in 32 minutes a night, thriving as a three-positional talent that surely was expected to be this good, if only on his father’s legacy. DeAndre Jordan was thought to be a trade target for several teams, but he remains in Los Angeles. ‘’?It was rumored the Clippers offered him to Houston in exchange for Clint Capela and were rebuked, but this writer makes no claim to such sources or validates the validity of said-rumors. No matter the case, Jordan forms the third part of a staunch frontline for the Clippers and the team hardly lacks in depth.
Veteran combo guard Avery Bradley was also acquired with Harris, and he is generally regarded as one of the most underrated players and best one-on-one perimeter defenders in the Association. Bradley is averaging just 10 points and three assists through his first two games, but the last outing he was an efficient 6 of 10 from the floor with three steals.?He makes his impact, in short.
The Clippers might not be the chic pick as true contenders, but it reasons that L.A. can absolutely sneak into the playoffs and be a formidable opponent (in other words not be swept necessarily) to one of the top-tier teams in the West.
The team has sufficient leadership, talent, and just because its identity is not really the same without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin does not mean that these pros cannot come together to gel quickly before the postseason arrives. L.A. should remain on the radar of dark horse sneaky teams that have gone under the radar. There is enough talent on the roster to put up a fight.
The only reason to say that is that there is still so much talent in its main trio of players: Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony.
Carmelo Anthony has adapted now to a tertiary role on the team, with Paul George
and Russell Westbrook doing the heavy offensive-lifting. Anthony still averages 17.4 points and six rebounds per game, but he does so in “just” 32.7 minutes a night, while George and Westbrook play 36-plus respectively. Steven Adams is making a strong impact on the interior as one of the most underrated 5-men in the Association, and his 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds do precious little justice to what an impact he has as the main defensive piece in OKC’s strong defensive attack.
Veteran Andre Roberson provides similar role at the tune of 26.6 minutes of tough defense per game, while Terrence Ferguson has looked promising a rookie in his spot minutes. Ferguson becomes crucial with Roberson possibly out for the season due to injury.
The Thunder quietly have built some depth on its roster, and Raymond Felton still serves as a good spark in the second unit, along with small forward Jerami Grant, who has averaged 7.5 points per game in his 52 appearances this year. Roberson is out for the year, and that is a huge blow to OKC.
The Thunder seems to have just enough firepower and just enough depth to be a top-5 team in the West, but do they have enough to contend with Golden State and Houston?