OKC Thunder: Dissecting 16 playoff seeds and 4 WC team records

OKC Thunder (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Former OKC Thunder star Paul George and Kawhi Leonard #2 LA Clippers (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

LA Clippers:

  • 64 games played (44-20)
  • Record versus seeded teams: 33 occasions (21-11)
  • Record versus lottery teams: 31 occasions (23-8)
  • Home record (25-7)
  • Road record: (19-13)
  • Back to back sets: 10 played (11-9)
    • one with both teams seeded (2-0)
    • seven with one seed/one lottery seed (7-7)
    • two with both teams in the lottery (2-2).

While the Clippers are among the favorites to win the title they haven’t accumulated a ton of minutes with the core playing together. Arguably, of all the top clubs the Clippers preference will be to play as many lead in games as possible combined with the typical playoff format. It would allow Doc Rivers to have his players dialed into specific schemes through each series and build momentum throughout the playoffs. Although this team is deep, they weren’t as consistent on the road or in back-to-back settings which highlighted that lack of roster consistency.

Isolating on the Clippers and Raptors offers some hints to why roster constancy is so important and in this unusual season why it’s played a bigger role in the regular-season standings. Although the Raptors suffered more man-games lost due to injury (and to more players) their schemes are more team-oriented. Even last season, Toronto seemingly had two schemes; one with Kawhi and one without him. They won using both and it could be argued the club improved through each series of 2019 playoffs when they relied less heavily on Leonard as the centerpiece of the offense.

Conversely, the Clippers are integrating two superstars who are the focus. Plus, they’ve added Patrick Patterson/Rodney McGruder (free agency), Marcus Morris (trade deadline), and Reggie Jackson (buy-out). And on top of these changes, Ivica Zubac and JaMychal Green are still relatively new with the club appeareding in 25 and 24 games respectively last season.

That’s a ton of moving parts and while this squad is heavy favorite they’ll need as much time as possible to find cohesion and rhythm. Moreover, the two stars have injury tendencies so the Clippers will most certainly be among those wanting to play as many games as possible prior to jumping into the playoffs.

As for movement on the ladder, the Clippers trail the Lakers by 5.5 games and the Raptors by three for the third overall league seed. The more pressing ladder placement for them is holding off the Nuggets and Celtics. Denver trails LA by 1.5 games while Boston is only one game back of them for the fourth overall seed.