2016-2017 in review: 51-31, finished fourth in Western Conference. Lost to the Utah Jazz in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.

Key offseason acquisitions: PG Patrick Beverley, SG Lou Williams, SF Sam Dekker, SF Danilo Gallinari, PG Milos Tedosic, PF Montrezl Harrell

Key offseason losses: PG Chris Paul, SG Jamal Crawford, SF Luke Mbah Moute , SG JJ Redick, PF Mareese Speights

Projected starting lineup: PG Patrick Beverley, SG Austin Rivers, SF Danilo Gallinari, PF Blake Griffin, C DeAndre Jordan

2017-2018 season outlook: There is a basketball team in Los Angeles with a very bright future, and it’s not the Clippers. After trading away a top-ten player, their leader, and by far their best player, things appear dismal for the team once known as ‘Lob City.’ Chris Paul was dealt to Houston in large part due to his own doings, as he believed the Clippers would not be the best situation at this time. However, the team did keep their star Blake Griffin, and still have blocking extraordinaire DeAndre Jordan, but that’s not enough in the talent-loaded Western Conference.

Losing Paul will show the NBA and its fans how valuable he was to the Clippers. Without the future Hall-of-Famer, expect the Clippers to look like a completely different, and possibly even like a lost team. Los Angeles did add Patrick Beverley who scored nine points per game last season and is arguably a top-five defender. They also added scoring guard Lou Williams, who poured in 15 points per game last season, and a talented role player in Danilo Gallinari, who collected five rebounds per game to go with 18 points per game last season.

Having Griffin and Jordan teamed up with these types of role players will drastically effect their game. Since Paul is such an incredible play-maker, he elevated Griffin and Jordan’s games mightily, and last year with Paul on the court, the Clippers were 18 points better per 100-possessions than when he was off the court.

Some call Griffin overrated, and NBA fans will be able to find out pretty quickly if that’s true. Without Paul there to generate offense, and Beverley being known for his defense and not play-making abilities, expect the Clippers’ offense to rely heavily on the former dunk contest champion. Austin Rivers, Williams, and Gallinari will also try to shoulder the scoring load. DeAndre Jordan, who is a rim protecting seven-footer, caught lobs from Paul often, so expect his points per game to take a noticeable dip.

The Clippers have some talented guys and a respected head coach in Doc Rivers, but they do not have someone to generate offense or enough stars to seriously compete in the Western Conference.

Projected Strengths: Defense, coaching

Projected Weaknesses: Offense, teamwork, having a ‘go-to guy’

Projected Record: 36-46

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