After moving on from Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan over the last few years, the Clippers this season were planning on entering a soft rebuild.
They didn’t account for a veteran coach freed from his overwhelming role as general manager and a bunch of solid NBA players.
Since trading Tobias Harris on Feb. 7, the Clippers have won 12 of 17 games, including an 8-1 mark in March and a six-point win over the Pacers last night.
They’re currently in the eighth spot in the West but sit just 3.5 games from the third seed, and their roster of good-but-not-great players is an impressive collection: Montrezl Harrell, Patrick Beverley, Danilo Gallinari, rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luc Mbah a Moute, JaMychal Green, and, of course, Lou Williams the most prolific sixth-man scorer in NBA history.
L.A. also stole Landry Shamet in the Harris trade from the 76ers; in 16 games with the Clippers, he’s averaged nearly three made 3s and 12 points.
[READ: Doc Rivers lost some power, and everybody won]
The Clippers are playoff-bound, fun to watch, and might have an entirely different-looking team next year. They have enough cap space to shell out for two max-money free agents, and the scuttlebug is Kawhi Leonard could be on his way, which would also explain the disinterest in keeping Harris long-term.
It’s all going swimmingly for the Clippers, and it all sucks right now for the Lakers.
Need further proof? Ancient columnist Peter Vecsey floated a rumor that Rivers may leave his team for the Lakers next season. Rivers responded by thoroughly debunking such claims, then announced an extension with the Clippers.
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