In the summer of 2019, Kawhi Leonard signed with the Los Angeles Clippers and the team traded for Paul George to pair with him.
It was a huge summer for a franchise that has largely lived in the shadow of the Lakers for the entirety of its existence, and the Clippers looked like true title contenders.
But the duo of Kawhi and PG-13 has yet to live up to those huge expectations, as a series of injuries and postseason disappointments have kept the team from reaching an NBA Finals.
After a solid offseason, the hope is that perhaps the 2022-23 campaign is finally when all of that great potential is realized.
The Clippers have re-signed Robert Covington, Amir Coffey, Ivica Zubac and Nicolas Batum, and they added John Wall in free agency. Leonard—who missed the entirety of last season with a torn ACL—and George (who only played 31 games last season) head into this campaign healthy and will be hungry to prove they can win a championship together.
Below, we'll take a look at the schedule they'll face as they look to do just that.
2022-23 Clippers Schedule Details
Season Opener: At Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 10 p.m. ET
Championship Odds: 7-1 (via FanDuel)
Full Schedule: NBA.com
Los Angeles Lakers (First Game: Oct. 20)
Lakers fans have been fond of dunking on the Clippers in recent years, given that the Leonard and George duo hasn't gotten a ring together and LeBron James and Anthony Davis did. And fair enough.
But, at least on paper, the Clippers are the stronger team heading into this season. It remains a major question mark if Russell Westbrook can find a way to make a positive impact for the Lakers after a disastrous 2021-22 campaign. They also don't have the quality depth that the Clippers possess. And James and AD have been nearly as injury-prone as Kawhi and PG-13.
There are plenty of storylines to consider in the battle for the City of Angels. With this many superstars on the court, the matchups should be a lot of fun, at the least.
Golden State Warriors (First Game: Nov. 23)
The Golden State Warriors will be the measuring stick for every contender this season after winning last year's title. The Clippers won't be the exception.
If they are going to win a title, there's a good chance they'll have to go through the Dubs at some point. That should make the regular-season matchups all the more intriguing as a potential conference finals preview.
There are plenty of talented teams in the West. The Phoenix Suns will largely return their core group from last year. The Denver Nuggets are getting a healthy Jamal Murray. The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the league's most exciting young teams. The Minnesota Timberwolves paid a small fortune to land Rudy Gobert. Luka Doncic has given the Clippers fits in the past. The Lakers remain a potential threat.
But all roads go through Golden State. Stephen Curry and the defending champs are the litmus test for teams like the Clippers as they gear up for a potential title run.
The Clippers are deep, talented and have a roster that makes far more sense together than the mismatched group their L.A. neighbors have assembled. If they can stay healthy, this team should be a threat.
A lot will come down to the level that Wall is able to play at this season.
Since the start of the 2017-18 season, injuries and a mutual parting of ways with the rebuilding Houston Rockets—he didn't appear in a single contest last season—have limited him to 113 games.
The five-time All-Star was one of the more dynamic players in his prime, and at 31 years of age, he still should have more in the tank.
But can Wall stay healthy over the course of a full season and playoff run? After basically taking a year away from basketball last season, how long will it take to scrape the rust away? Does he still have the ability to impact a game at an elite level as he did in his earlier playing days?
One thing Leonard and George have never really had with the Clippers is a top-tier point guard. If Wall can even come close to being that player again—and if the Clippers can stay healthy—this team will be a major threat.
Record Prediction: 52-30
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