NBA: Redefining the Clippers and Kawhi Leonard’s Legacy

Las Vegas oddsmakers have anointed the Los Angeles Clippers as the betting favorites to win the 2020 NBA title. Caesars Sportsbook had them as 10-1 favorites at the beginning of July. Are they really that good?


The Clippers are at the cusp of redefining their narrative. The once-lowlier Los Angeles franchise is now ready to become the (new) protagonist in the City of Angels. Caesars has them winning 55.5 games this coming regular season. That second-most in the league, behind only the Milwaukee Bucks (57).

Their acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard (free agent signing) and Paul George (trade) catapulted them to the top of the hill in the new-look Western Conference. Both superstars were sold on the organization’s culture and its commitment finally winning an NBA championship.

There’s a different vibe surrounding the team nowadays. Not only are they armed with two of the best two-way players in the game today, but they’ve also managed to surround the duo with a variety of promising young talent as well as solid veteran role-players.

Team owner and former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer has thrown the full weight of his support for his team. So much so, that he has expressed openness to changing the team’s name – to keep the team fresh and updated as it draws new and younger fans every day. The team has also released renderings for a proposed $1.1 billion arena in Inglewood, California.

Winning a championship in 2019-20 would not only mean huge things for the team, but it would also mean something special for Kawhi Leonard. IF he is indeed able to bring a title back to L.A. via the Clippers, he will be able to do what something special and that’s winning an NBA championship with three different teams. So far, only Robert Horry (HOU, LAL, SA) and John Salley (DET, CHI, LAL) have accomplished this feat. However, the two aforementioned players have done so as journeymen role-players. Leonard was traded for by the Toronto Raptors last season and instantly gave the Canadian franchise its first NBA title. Can he do the same for the Clippers?

On paper, the Clippers have the right mix in place. They have a championship-winning coach in Doc Rivers (Boston Celtics), three of the best defenders in the NBA in Leonard, George and Patrick Beverley, as well as an array of offensive weapons that include Lou Williams (Sixth Man of the Year), Montrezl Harrell and young gunner Landry Shamet.

The Clippers won’t have an easy road ahead of them, though. The Western Conference underwent a drastic facelift over the offseason. The Warriors, who have lost Kevin Durant to a sign-and-trade deal and Klay Thompson to a torn ACL, are no longer serious threats. The Lakers have paired Anthony Davis and a still-dangerous LeBron James. The Jazz have stocked up on depth with the addition of Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic. The Nuggets have an array of multiple talented players at their disposal.

At the end of the day, the proof will be in the pudding, as they say. Still, it’s hard to argue with oddsmakers considering that the Clippers have all the right ingredients to possibly win it all.

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