Since moving to Los Angeles in 1984, the Clippers have led a pretty sad existence.
The team has had remarkably little on court success despite holding 26 (!) lottery picks in that period, including 11 in the top 5. Much of this comes back to the ownership of disgraced and vanquished former owner Donald Sterling, who – putting aside his myriad of community issues, continually stripped the team to it's bare bones. Those poor Clips never had a chance.
The Lob City era gave hope to LA's 'little brother', as did the eventual ownership of Apple Billionaire Steve Ballmer. Still the team was never seen as a true contender in line with the Warriors or whatever team LeBron James happened to be playing for.
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The off-season was a monumental success for President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank. He blindsided the league in trading for superstar wing Paul George, which paved the way for the homecoming of former Raptors championship hero Kawhi Leonard, signed as a free agent.
Whilst they're the headliners, Franks perfect summer didn't end there. He also brought in versatile forward Mo Harkless via trade, and restored his squads remarkable depth with the signings of guard Rodney McGruder and stretch bigs JaMichael Green and Patrick Patterson. This in addition to retaining most of his core in Pat Beverley, Lou Williams, Landry Shamet, Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac.
Throw in draft picks Mfiondu Kabengele and Terance Mann (seriously, watch out for Mann – he's going to surprise a lot of people) and this has been a banner off-season for the Clippers.
But with that comes something that the Clippers have never truly experienced: expectation. For the first time this decade, the NBA season will start without either the Warriors or a LeBron led team as the consensus favourite. It's still feels weird, but the Clippers are the team to beat.
Many teams with the Clippers sordid history might run from, or at least attempt to dampen those expectations – but not these Clips. They're embracing everything that comes with favouritism. As coach Doc Rivers told Yahoo Sports: 'Why run from expectation?'
The Clips are led by a stable front office. Rivers and team consultant Jerry West both signed extensions over the off-season. General Manager Michael Winger and Assistant GM Trent Redden turned down roles with the Timberwolves and Nets respectively. This is a front office united in it's chase for a title.