The Clippers Just Became Thanos

Los Angeles Clippers

"Fun isn't something one considers when balancing the universe. But this...does put a smile on my face" - (Thanos 2008) (Kawhi Leonard when signing with LAC)

Kawhi Leonard

Okay so you haven't seen Avengers (come on...) don't panic, just stay right here we got you covered. Let's get you a quick background so you understand what's going on. In the quickest summary of covering all aspects that I can perform this is what you need to know. Thanos is a villain that wants to restore balance to the universe by eliminating half of the population. In fact, in a summary by Polygon, you might say that Kawhi Leonard is the closest thing to Thanos in the NBA.

a powerful leader of armies, elite warriors and assassins who has conquered and destroyed numerous worlds in a far-off region of space. 

Before you Lebron faithful out there try to argue with me that he's the appropriate choice for the Thanos nod...let's just pump the breaks and go along with it for now, shall we? Kawhi has conquered and destroyed numerous worlds (won a championship with multiple franchises) so let us move forward. Thank you. 

The NBA has been a league filled with the prototypical tag of "Superteams" as of late. A recent history of various stars teaming up in order to form an alliance with the dream of holding up the Larry O'Brien trophy. Every NBA offseason, we will witness a shift of power that leads to us having a clear vision of what teams are going to be in the serious hunt for the Finals in the upcoming season. It didn't seem like any of that was going to change anytime soon and then it happened. 

The Los Angeles Clippers might have just given us the most beautiful gift of all. After a shocker in which Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both ended up in Clippers jerseys for the 2019-2020 season, the league has restored balance. It's going to be one of the most exciting years to follow the NBA in a long time. Just imagining the number of storylines that we can follow as basketball fans this year is outstanding. The previous season saw the Clippers franchise jump into the national spotlight in surprising fashion. We were in shock during the NBA playoffs at this young Clippers team, in which many tagged as a rebuilding team, going toe to toe with the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The Clippers had officially put the rest of the league on notice that they were a couple of lucky bounces away in the upcoming offseason to becoming a contender quicker than we all expected. Then, out of nowhere...the Clippers went on a warpath to take over the "universe." 

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard

It's official the Clippers just became Thanos. 

We always find ourselves wanting to root for a villain to fall when it comes time to the NBA season. In recent years it's been the Golden State Warriors, especially once Kevin Durant decided to join the band. The Los Angeles Lakers were the leader in the clubhouse this year (as is tradition), especially after Anthony Davis joined Lebron James and it looked as if they were destined to potentially add Kawhi Leonard. Then in a "snap" (see what I did there Marvel fans) the Clippers changed the entire league. But are we overhyping the ability of the Clippers this upcoming year? 

The answer is no. Buy into the hype, and while some will want to focus on the offensive firepower that the Clippers have with Kawhi and Paul George now, it's the other side of the ball in which we should be looking. Kawhi Leonard has been one of the more impressive defenders in the NBA over his career and we all know how good of a defender Patrick Beverley is. But one of the more "forgotten" aspects is how good of a defender Paul George has been over the course of his career. Now I'm not saying that everyone doesn't think he's a good defender, but Paul George next to Kawhi has the potential to be an absolute NIGHTMARE for opposing teams.  

This roster is a lot more impressive with overall depth than some might realize. If the Clippers can hit on a couple of young pieces developing quicker than expected, it can get even deeper in a hurry. Sophomore Jerome Robinson could become a huge spark off of the bench after showing some brief flashes in the playoffs last year. Don't forget about impressive wing Landry Shamet who was acquired in the Tobias Harris trade as well. Montrezl Harrell should continue to blossom and provide the swagger needed for this team moving forward as well and we cannot forget about the microwave scoring option of Sixth Man Lou Williams. 

Patrick Beverley Paul George Kawhi Leonard Montrezl Harrell Ivica Zubac
Lou Williams Landry Shamet Moe Harkless JaMycahal Green Mfiondu Kabengele
  Jerome Robinson Terance Mann    
  Rodney McGruder      

The important thing to remember when looking at all of the teams as potential contenders next year is that depth is always needed for the long run. Injuries happen. So while some might be trying to debate that team A has the better 1-5, the teams that endure the long playoff runs are going to need to be 8-10 players deep. For example, look at last years Golden State Warriors team who hit a serious injury bug throughout the playoffs. Teams have to be ready for players to step up when needed, so depth is such an important asset to have over the course of a long season. 

In a league in which we have been so desperately waiting for a shift towards a league with more competitive balance, it seems as if the Los Angeles Clippers just finally gave us our wish. There's so much that can happen between now and playoff time with injuries, trades, and off-court stories involving total anarchy. 

But this NBA right now...does put a smile on our face.