Through much of the offseason, the LA Clippers have been the talk of the league following an eventful offseason that was headlined by the big splash additions of star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The excitement is oozing out of the organization from players such as Montrezl Harrell with what could lie ahead of the franchise this upcoming season and well beyond that.
Clippers 2018-19 season
Heading into last season, the Clippers had a low-level of expectations, with many projections placing them to fall well short of the playoffs. This was only reasonable as the team was without a bonafide superstar leading the charge with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin both out of the picture.
LA was led by a group of veteran players and young promising talent that broke through the low bar by proving to be a gritty and tough team that stuck in the playoff picture throughout the season. Their bench was the backbone of their success, with star guard Lou Williams adding a second straight Sixth-Man of the Year award after yet another impressive campaign averaging 20.0 points, 5.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game.
Meanwhile, Harrell was a huge factor alongside him putting together a career-best season averaging 16.6 points and 6.5 rebounds on 61.5 percent shooting. This combo made them the highest-scoring bench duo in a single season in NBA history.
It was much more beyond that as they had strong stellar play with career-best years from forwards Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris prior to him being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. It was an extremely balanced effort that saw them finish with 48 wins and even took the Golden State Warriors to six games in the first round of the playoffs.
Montrezl Harrell’s stats and accomplishments
Since his arrival to the Clippers via the Paul trade with the Houston Rockets, Harrell has quickly found his role with the team. Harrell is a huge asset off the bench for LA as he has become a highly efficient scoring option.
Last season, he notched 29 games with at least 20 points after reaching that feat just nine times combined in his first three years in the league. Harrell also finished fifth in the NBA in field goal percentage
The 25-year-old was also a major factor in the playoffs against the Warriors as he set the Clippers’ postseason mark by shooting 9-of-9 from the floor in the second half of Game 1 of the first-round series. In that contest, Harrell also became the second player since 1985 to notch at least 25 points, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals off the bench in a playoff game.
Clippers Landing Kawhi Leonard
Throughout last season, there was much chatter around Kawhi Leonard’s interest in joining the Clippers. That notion only ramped up in the offseason, but things became a bit murky with that public perception, with the Los Angeles Lakers becoming involved in the pursuit.
However, the Clippers were always the primary destination that Leonard wanted as he the team met his demands by acquiring All-Star forward Paul George, whose presence ultimately secured his services.
Leonard is the reigning NBA Finals MVP after guiding the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title. He’s now set to lead the charge for the Clippers alongside George in hopes of guiding the franchise to their first NBA title.
Montrezl Harrell’s confidence in the Clippers
There is nothing short of excitement about what lies ahead of the Clippers’ bright future. This has led many betting companies to place them as one of the frontrunners to win the NBA championship next June.
In light of that, Harrell recently made an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump,” where voiced a tremendous amount of confidence in the revamped Clippers’ squad to get the job done next season.
“For everyone in that locker room, we are going to come with that same type of mindset to be that team that is built of great fight and competition. That’s what Steve Ballmer has built this team around and everyone has taken that mindset and ran with it. We just added two more guys that already have mindset.”
With the addition of Leonard and George, the bar has been set high at championship expectations that only time will tell if they can fulfill it.