The 2020-21 season was a historic one for the Los Angeles Clippers, as the team reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. Unfortunately, the Clippers lost Kawhi Leonard in the process, who required ACL surgery after suffering a knee injury against the Utah Jazz in the second round.
Leonard is expected to miss most of the 2021-22 regular season, delivering a serious blow to LA’s title chances for the upcoming year. However, the Clippers should still be in position to qualify for the playoffs with Paul George serving as the undisputed No. 1 option.
Moreover, the Clippers found ways to improve on the margins during the offseason. Although it was difficult for fans to say goodbye to Patrick Beverley, veteran guard Eric Bledsoe should be a viable replacement.
Additionally, Justise Winslow should earn consistent minutes off the bench given his defensive versatility.
The Clippers also return notable role players in Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum, who proved to be essential pieces of the roster throughout the playoffs. Jackson averaged 17.8 points in 19 playoff games, while Batum’s high-IQ play made it hard to keep him off the floor.
Lastly, Los Angeles got younger via the NBA Draft, adding Keon Johnson, Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr. to the roster. Johnson and Boston will likely receive the majority of the minutes between the group, but none of them should be expected to be difference-makers this season.
With that said, let’s take a look at our 2021 Clippers predictions.
Please note that all 2021 Clippers bet picks odds and lines are current as of Monday, October 4.
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Clippers Win Total Prediction 2021-2022
Clippers Under 45.5 Wins (-115) at PointsBet
This pick has more to do with Leonard’s status than anything else. The regular season is a slog, and while the Clippers will likely still be an above-average team throughout the year, it’s hard to imagine them winning much more than 45 or 46 games before the playoffs roll around.
The Clippers actually fared relatively well when one of Leonard or George missed a game last season, as role players like Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum and Terance Mann would step up in their absence. Asking them to do that over the course of a full season, though, isn’t as realistic.
Clippers Win Total Pick 2021-2022: Under
It’s certainly possible that the Clippers could hit the Over on their win total prop, but given their overall health and strength of schedule, the Under feels like a much safer bet.
Clippers Make NBA Playoffs Prediction 2021-2022
Clippers To Make Playoffs (-275) at BetMGM
Whether Leonard plays in the regular season or not, the Clippers are still an immensely talented team. A 44- or 45-win season would likely put them in the bottom half of the playoff standings, perhaps as the No. 6 or 7 seed.
However, in the unlikely scenario that they underwhelm and come in at No. 9 or 10, they’ll still have a chance to get into the postseason via the play-in tournament.
Leonard’s recovery timeline could allow for him to participate in these games, and it’s unlikely that a team like Memphis, Portland or New Orleans could knock out a fully healthy Clippers squad.
Clippers Make NBA Playoffs Pick 2021-2022: Yes
The Clippers should be outright qualifiers for the playoffs, but even if they slide into play-in range, there’s little reason to worry about them being defeated by an inferior team, making this our NBA bet of the day.
Clippers To Win NBA Championship Prediction 2021-2022
Clippers To Win NBA Championship (+1800) at PointsBet
There are only a handful of teams that are favored over the Clippers to win the NBA Finals this season, and it’s not hard to see why. Leonard could very well be back in time for the playoffs, and with him in the lineup, LA is a legitimate title contender.
Leonard recently made it clear that he intends to return this season if possible, so it seems as though he’ll find his way back onto the floor before the playoffs begin, barring any setbacks. If that ends up being the case, rival contenders will want to steer clear of the Clippers.
They’ll likely be a lower-seeded team, which means home-court advantage may not be in play for them at any point in the postseason. However, Tyronn Lue‘s squad is at its best when it’s facing adversity. Just look at their 2021 playoff run for evidence: Los Angeles began the first and second round down 2-0 before ultimately coming back to win each series.
With a determined and healthy Leonard, in-rhythm George and contributions from many reliable role players, the Clippers could very well win an NBA title in 2022.
Clippers NBA Championship Pick 2021-2022: Yes
It may be best to err on the side of caution and stay away from this pick, but the payout will only go down once there’s a concrete date for Leonard’s return. The Clippers have established a winning formula, and they’re closer than ever before to winning a chip.
Clippers & Player Prop Predictions 2021-2022
Paul George To Win 2021-22 NBA MVP Award (+4000) at BetMGM
The last time Paul George was the clear-cut No. 1 option on a team was in 2019, when he averaged a career-high 28.0 points per game and finished third in the MVP race. Up until the 2021 playoffs, it didn’t seem like George would be able to replicate that type of performance.
However, George proved he could carry an exceptional load after Leonard went down, averaging 29.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 5.6 assists until the Clippers were eventually eliminated by the Suns.
The Clippers will go as George goes in 2021-22, and if he can exceed expectations and carry the load while Leonard remains sidelined, he could easily find himself back in the MVP conversation.
Terance Mann To Win 2021-22 NBA Most Improved Player (+6000) at DraftKings
It doesn’t seem like sportsbooks have caught on to the type of opportunity Terance Mann will have this year quite yet, but they are learning. This prop opened at (+10000) but has moved significantly down to (+6000).
Mann wasn’t named a day-one starter, but it wouldn’t be surprising if that changed shortly after the season begins. After Leonard went down in the postseason, Mann took over his starting role and made the most of it.
The second-year wing averaged 12.8 points and shot 44.8% from 3-point range over the next eight games, including an efficient 39-point outburst in the Clippers’ series-clinching victory over the Jazz.
Mann consistently put up big numbers when given the opportunity last season, but he didn’t get enough to make any noise around the league. In a larger and more consistent role in 2021-22, I’m expecting Mann to exceed expectations.
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