Every team wants to be in the position that best suits them in the playoffs. For the LA Clippers, the right format for them is not so clear.
Things are not always what they appear to be. It was said that a 1-16 playoff format would be tough for the LA Clippers but that may not be the case. It was reported by The Athletic’s Sham Charania that July 31st will be the day the NBA is coming back.
We don’t know where the teams will play yet. Orlando looks like the most likely choice. Other sites like Las Vegas and Toronto have been under consideration. Everything should be clear by early June when the Board of Governors will vote on the NBA’s return.
Practice facilities have been opening up left and right. The Clippers’ facility opened on May 18. Not all players have been there yet. Patrick Beverley said on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt he doesn’t want to put his family in danger by going to practice.
The NBA and everybody involved with the NBA are still taking the steps necessary to have a safe remainder of the season, but we already have a clue what the playoffs might look like. The format may look like the regular eight west and eight east teams that make it, there might be just 16 of the best teams that make it or a group format like the World Cup in soccer.
There may also be a play-in tournament to see who gets the last couple of seeds in each conference. Some teams still had a chance to make it to the playoffs so it would be a shame to see them not get a chance to qualify.
The World Cup-style format of different group teams would be the one that the Clippers want to avoid. Anything could happen in that format. The risk of losing a couple of games would be too great for the Clippers.
What should the Clippers want? The answer is not so clear. One would say that the Clippers should want the regular route, but that would be harder. If the regular format was in place, the Clippers would face the Dallas Mavericks in the first round and then either the Nuggets or the Rockets in the second round.
If the 1-16 format was in place the Clippers would have to face the Mavericks in the first round and potentially the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round.
Would you rather want to face the team with the sixth-best record in the league in the second round in the Nuggets or the team with the 12th best record in the league in the Sixers? Also in the regular format, the Houston Rockets could beat the Nuggets and that would be a tough matchup also.
James Harden is a top-five player in this league. Russell Westbrook is a top 10 player in this league. Both are MVPs. Would you rather want to face Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in the second round or Harden and Westbrook?
The Clippers are one of the best defensive teams in the league and the Sixers are one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league. A Clippers-Sixers matchup would benefit the Clippers because they will smother the 3-point inept Sixers.
The Houston Rockets are second in the league this year in 3-pointers made per game and possess a potentially lethal offense when everything is humming.
If the Clippers want to win the championship they will most likely have to play the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers in either format. The Clippers will benefit from the neutral site because a matchup with the Lakers in LA it would be home-court advantage for the purple and gold matter what.
A 1-16 format would benefit the Clippers out of all of the other formats. The neutral site is going to benefit them in the long run of the postseason because they would have been at a disadvantage against the Lakers in a town captivated by their plethora of titles and the Bucks would have home-court in the Finals.