The NBA Trade Deadline and All-Star Weekend have come and gone, so that means we’re in the home stretch of the 2019-20 NBA season. In this serious post-All-Star Break, we’ll go over the outlook for every team in the NBA. Here, we’ll provide a short glimpse at championship odds and playoff chances for each team on DraftKings Sportsbook. Also highlighted are key injuries to note and a fantasy basketball player to watch the rest of the season.
Where do the Los Angeles Clippers stand at the All-Star Break?
The Clippers’ 37-18 regular-season record is sixth in the NBA, but their championship odds (+320) on DraftKings Sportsbook are one of only three teams with odds under +1400. The disconnect is that Los Angeles has been performing with an eye towards the postseason. Kawhi Leonard does not play in back-to-backs due to load management, and Paul George has missed significant time due to shoulder and hamstring injuries. A healthy Clippers squad heading into the postseason is about as dangerous as any team, as there are no back-to-backs in the playoffs and Leonard will be fully unleashed.
Because of that, their regular-season numbers need to be viewed with proper context. Their possession adjusted point differential is sixth best, with their possession adjusted team offense and team defense both sixth best. Los Angeles has also been the league’s sixth best rebounding team by the percentage of missed shots rebounded.
The Clippers made a notable move prior to the trade deadline, acquiring Marcus Morris from the Knicks. By player efficiency rating, Morris is having his best season in the NBA and has been hot from 3-point range, shooting an elite 43% from 3. As title contenders, the Clippers are also candidates to be active in the buyout market, which could help further improve their bench.
Prediction: The Clippers make it to the conference finals but ultimately lose to the Lakers.
Key Injuries for Los Angeles Clippers
George strained his hamstring during the Clippers’ final game before the All-Star break and a timetable for his return is uncertain. The worrisome part of this injury is that it is to the same hamstring that forced George to miss extended time in January. It’s possible the Clippers elect to be exceedingly cautious with George given the recurrence of the injury. Beverley missed the Clippers’ last four games before the break. He did partake in the Skills Challenge at All-Star Weekend. Expect Beverley to be fine after the break.
Fantasy basketball spotlight: Kawhi Leonard
Leonard has been the Clippers’ best fantasy performer, averaging 49.5 DraftKings fantasy points (DKFP) per game on the season. However, with George straining his hamstring again, Leonard is primed for expanded fantasy value in the near future. Leonard’s usage rate rises to an elite 35% in minutes with George off the court, up from 30% with George on the court. Elite volume will make Leonard a highly appealing fantasy play while George is sidelined. Leonard’s 26.4 player efficiency rating is seventh best among all players and best among small forwards. When Leonard sits out to rest while George is injured, Lou Williams would be primed for big usage and would be a highly appealing play in DraftKings contests in those games.
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