- The Clippers have the best record in the Western Conference after 19 games
- Can LA continue its sensational play?
- Is it possible to win an NBA championship without a certified superstar?
Coming into the 2018-19 season most pundits agreed that a team from Los Angeles would contend for the NBA championship. They just never dreamed it would be the Clippers.
LA’s “other team” has defied expectations by racing out to a 13-6 start and claiming first place in the Western Conference. It’s a turn of events that nobody saw coming, including BetOnline, who gave the Clippers +25000 odds of winning the 2019 NBA Championship when the season began on October 16th.
They’ve since adjusted their odds in light of LA’s strong start, and now have the Clippers as low as +5000. You can see precisely how the team’s odds have fluctuated across a collection of top online sportsbooks by viewing our 2019 NBA Championship Odds Tracker.
2019 NBA Championship Odds
|Team||2019 NBA Championship Odds at BetOnline|
|Golden State Warriors||-150|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+1400|
You won’t find Doc Rivers’ squad in anyone’s top five just yet, but they could join the party soon if they can stay near the top of the conference.
Why is Los Angeles suddenly so good? Four reasons spring to mind.
The Clippers’ Bench Has Been Outstanding
Unlike many of the league’s top-heavy rosters, the Clippers second unit is just as strong as its first. LA’s bench mob is averaging a league-best 54.6 points per game, and ranks second in assists, sixth in rebounds, and eighth in assists.
Boban rolls for the dunk! #ClipperNation
— NBA (@NBA) November 23, 2018
Much of the credit goes to reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, who is putting up 17.8 points per game, but the Clippers have also received big contributions from professional pest Patrick Beverly, and hulking pivot Boban Marjanovic, who is well on his way to becoming a cult hero in Southern California. The 7’3″ giant plays sparingly, but his per 36 minute stats of 24.8 points, 14.8 rebounds, and 3.1 swats speaks volumes about the impact he has when he’s on the court.
Montrezl Harrell Has Been the NBA’s Most Improved Player
No player has made a bigger leap this season – both literally and figuratively – than Montrezl Harrell. The fourth-year forward is posting career highs in points (15.8), rebounds (7.4), steals (1.1), blocks (1.8) and minutes played (25.6), and is using every inch of his massive 7’4″ wingspan to make life miserable for opponents.
— Sports Notes (@TheSportsNotes) November 23, 2018
Trez has been especially good in LA’s pick-and-roll offense, where he’s been able to use his off-the-charts athleticism to finish with authority at the rim.
They’re Torching Teams from Deep
Some teams get hot during a single quarter or a half, but the Clippers have been on fire all season long. LA ranks third in scoring, third in free-throw percentage, fourth in true shooting percentage, and fourth in three-point percentage. Their three-point accuracy has improved significantly from a year ago, when they finished 23rd in the NBA from beyond the arc.
Everyone is Finally Healthy
LA had one of the league’s most overburdened medical staffs last year as Patrick Beverly, Avery Bradley, Danilo Gallinari, and Milos Teodosic combined to miss 205 games due to illness and injury. It’s still early, but all four players are back on the court and are finally playing at full strength.
— NBA (@NBA) November 23, 2018
Gallinari has been especially critical to the Clippers’ success thanks to his ability to stretch the floor. The 30-year-old Italian is averaging 18.6 points, six rebounds, and two assists per game and is hitting a career-high 45.8% of his threes.
Should You Let it All Ride on the Clippers?
The Clippers’ early season success has been heartwarming for anyone who believes in the value of teamwork and selfless basketball. Just don’t expect them to stay atop the Western Conference for long. LA will invariably drop in the standings once Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and DeMarcus Cousins return from injury and the Warriors are back on the same page.
The Clippers’ early season success has been heartwarming for anyone who believes in the value of teamwork and selfless basketball.
You won’t find much value in Golden State at -150, but you can still come out ahead by getting the Raptors at +800. Toronto is off to its best start in franchise history and ranks in the top five league-wide in points per game, offensive rating, and net rating. The Drakes play hard and fast and have the depth and discipline to give Golden State fits if – and when – they reach the NBA Finals.