News Continues to Get Worse for Sinking Clippers Ship

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, November 23, 2017 12:19 AM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017 12:19 AM UTC

It’s only November, but the way things are going for the dreadful, injury-ravaged Los Angeles Clippers it already might be time to waive the white flag and look toward the future.

Lesson No. 1 why you should never judge a team too early in an NBA season: The 2017-18 Los Angeles Clippers.

They started 4-0 with three blowout victories, and it didn’t look like the Clips missed All-Star guard Chris Paul a bit from the big trade with Houston in late June. Uh, things haven’t gone quite as well since as the Clippers have been the worst team in the NBA, and it’s quite possible Coach Doc Rivers could be fired sooner rather than later. L.A. has been a terrible NBA betting option as well, with only three teams as of this writing having fewer ATS wins.

To be fair, the Clippers have been hit hard by injuries. Guard Milos Teodosic, a 30-year-old European rookie who is a ball-handling and passing wizard, hasn’t played since Oct. 21 due to a left plantar fasciitis and isn’t going to be back anytime soon. Forward Danilo Gallinari, the team’s biggest offseason acquisition, has been out since Nov. 5 with a glute injury and likely won’t be back until late this month – assuming no setbacks. With the injury-prone Gallinari, you shouldn’t assume that.

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Then there’s point guard Patrick Beverley, the key piece coming back from the Rockets in the Paul trade. The guy is a defensive demon – remember what he did to Lonzo Ball in the season opener? -- and is averaging 12.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists this season for L.A. He missed five games earlier this month with a sore right knee, but returned on Nov. 21 vs. the Knicks and had nine points, six rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes.

After yet another loss, Beverley ripped his teammates publicly, saying: "We're not playing hard. We too cool. We come on the court like people are supposed to back down because of the name on the back of our jerseys, and that’s not the case."

Unfortunately, Beverley aggravated his knee problem as he must undergo right knee surgery to repair a microfracture and a torn meniscus and miss the rest of the season. This is obviously the last thing the Clippers need as now they are looking at a starting backcourt of something like Austin Rivers (Doc’s son) and second-round rookie Sindarius Thornwell. That’s not good. Sixth Man Lou Williams likely will see his minutes rise.

L.A. had win total of 42.5 at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks entering the season. Here’s hoping you took the ‘under.’

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The Clippers have a roster spot available but are only $122K below the luxury tax and $6.1M below the hard cap. Los Angeles is eligible to apply for the Disabled Player Exception valued at $2.75M. The $5M contract for Patrick Beverley is non-guaranteed in 2018-19.

— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) November 22, 2017

Could the Clippers now choose to go full rebuild around Blake Griffin and attempt to trade All-Star center DeAndre Jordan? Reports are that the team already is listening. Jordan is surely going to opt out of his contract next summer – must be nice to turn down $24 million – and hit free agency. Teams already have begun calling the Clippers about Jordan. Believe it or not, he’s the first player in franchise history to play 10 seasons with the team.

Even with free agency on the horizon, the 29-year-old would bring back a solid return. He is averaging 10.1 points and 13.7 rebounds (board are second in NBA), one of 12 players averaging a double-double. Jordan is shooting 64.2 percent from the field, mostly on putbacks and dunks, which is third in the NBA. Last year, he led the league in shooting an amazing 71.4 percent. The guy is very durable as he hasn’t played fewer than 77 games in a non-lockout season since 2009-10 when he was still a seldom-used reserve.

As for Doc Rivers, it might be time for the franchise to move on from him as well. He no longer has the protection of being the team’s president of basketball operations, a title that was taken away from him this summer. Owner Steve Ballmer said it was so Rivers could focus entirely on coaching, but Rivers’ record as a personnel boss hasn’t been good. The Clippers always seem to have one of the worst benches in the NBA. Ballmer brought in the legendary Jerry West to serve as a front-office consultant this summer and it probably will be West’s call on Jordan and/or Rivers.

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