Clipper Nation Knows The Utah Jazz Got Better
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Mirjam Swanson who covers the LA Clippers wouldn’t “bet the house” on the Clippers making the finals because, according to her, the Jazz have gotten better and the Nuggets have chemistry.
She does, however, think there is a good chance for them to win the Western Conference because the team will embrace the hype.
Do you remember the last time the Utah Jazz played the Los Angeles Clippers? The spirited team from La La Land beat Utah 143-137 in overtime despite 40 points from Grayson Allen.
That was a Clippers team most NBA fans could get behind. They had no real stars, played tough and were the darlings of the first round of the playoffs by taking Golden State Warriors to 6 games.
Oh, how things have changed since April 10.
Allen was included in Utah’s trade for Mike Conley, Jr. The Clippers made a couple of small moves by signing NBA Finals MVP Kahwi Leonard and trading for All-Star Paul George. Okay, so those moves were not that small and makes the Clip Joint one of the Western Conferences favorites to go to the NBA Finals.
That’s why they are the second team to be featured on the Jazz Notes podcast of the 10 most interesting teams (outside of the Jazz) in the Western Conference next season.
The New LA Clippers
Leonard and George are two of the best two-way wings in the NBA. Both missed plenty of games last season for load management and injuries.
Will we see the dynamic duo in the Clips starting lineup against the Lakers in game one of this next NBA season?
“I don’t know if I would bet the farm that it’s going to happen, but I , like everybody else, would love to see that,” said Southern California News Group Clippers reporter Mirjam Swanson. “Paul George is coming off of a couple of summertime shoulder surgeries and he has looked good on Instagram, but I’m not sure he’s going to be ready for tip-off on day one.”
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When George does play, the Clippers could have one of the best secondary scorers in the NBA and field an awesome perimeter defensive group with George, Leonard and Patrick Beverley.
Don’t forget the Clippers also have one of the best bench scoring tandems in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. On paper, it seems like a great team and Swanson said the guys have already bought into their own hype.
“They know what they have put together in this group and as (Clippers consultant) Jerry West said ‘There has never been a duo (Leonard and George) quite like this duo’…They know what is at stake and they know what they are capable of and they know that they are here in LA and there is another team down the hall (the Lakers) who is also pretty stout and what that means as far as hype goes…I think they are going to embrace it.”
Just because the Clips added two mega-stars doesn’t mean that this team will be soft. Swanson said George and Leonard are just as tough and plucky as last year’s squad and that the holdovers will buy-in.
“I think these guys expect to play with the same chip that they played with before (Leonard and George arrived) and that it will all sort of it will all sort of coalesce and everyone will be better for it,” said Swanson.
Jazz Notes Host Cleon Wall said he thought the Clippers would be the favorites to go to the NBA Finals next season out of the Western Conference. Swanson said it’s too tough to call right now.
“The West is stacked. Utah has gotten better. Denver has that chemistry that they’ve had and they only got better. The Lakers are pretty good…I mean it certainly could be (that the Clippers make the NBA Finals) and Clippers fans are expecting them to be, but I wouldn’t bet the house on it.”
The Jazz will see how interesting, healthy and good the Clippers are on October 30 when Leonard, George and the other plucky members of the team visit Vivint SmartHome Arena.
It will, without a doubt, be a different experience for both teams this season.
Listen to a full interview on Jazz Notes below.
For all the analysis of the Jazz and their Western Conference competitors subscribe to the podcasts wherever you find them or on kslsports.com.