The Clippers begin the 2023-2024 season with a preseason contest against the Utah Jazz.

Basic Information

Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, Hawaii

When: 6:00 PM PT

How to Watch: NBA TV, KTLA, AM 570

Projected Starting Lineups

Jazz: Jordan Clarkson – Ochai Agbaji – Lauri Markkanen – John Collins – Walker Kessler

Clippers: Russell Westbrook – Terance Mann – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Ivica Zubac


Jazz: None

Clippers: None

The Big Picture

The Clippers had a quiet summer. Despite being linked to James Harden, Damian Lillard, Jrue Holiday, and Malcolm Brogdon, the Clippers’ only actual moves were trading for Kenyon Martin Jr., drafting Kobe Brown and Jordan Miller, and bringing back their own free agents. Nonetheless, in year five of the Kawhi Leonard and Paul George era, the goal remains a championship. The Clippers are going into the season healthy, their vibes in training camp have seemed good, and they have a lot to prove.

The Antagonist

The Jazz had an equally quiet offseason. Their big moves were in the draft, where they selected Taylor Hendricks, Keyontae George, and Brice Sensabaugh in the first round – though they did also pick up John Collins for cheap via trade. The Jazz are in an interesting spot, as they were competitive last season in the first year of their rebuild and have no incentive to tank, but also aren’t in a rush to win. Their roster is a mix of young guys and veterans, and they certainly have enough talent to compete for the play-in if they so choose. The question is whether they’ll trade more of their veterans mid-season or not.


Clippers 5th Starter: By far the biggest question for the Clippers entering Game 1 of preseason is who the Clippers’ last starter is. Westbrook, George, Leonard, and Ivica Zubac are locked in as starters, with Terance Mann, Martin Jr., Robert Covington, Marcus Morris, and Nic Batum competing for the last spot. My guess based on offseason comments and especially what we’ve heard in camp is that Mann will win out. He’s the best of the players in a vacuum and the team has committed to playing faster, which plays directly to Mann’s strengths. KJ would also thrive in an up-tempo environment, so he’d probably be my second lead candidate, but I think his lack of shooting combined with Zubac and Russ would result in too little spacing. The only player of these five I’d be surprised to see start is Batum due to his inclination to come off the bench and the Clippers’ desire to keep his minutes limited in the regular season.

Rest of Rotation: The rest of the rotation has some questions too. Norm Powell is locked in at backup shooting guard and Mason Plumlee is set at backup center. Based on camp, Bones Hyland appears to have clearly won the reserve point guard spot and is set to play minutes. If Mann doesn’t start, he will certainly play off the bench. That leaves two theoretical spots, though I’m guessing KJ Martin is nearly certain to play. All of that means that if Ty Lue runs a 10 man rotation (which he should considering this roster’s age and injury history), there’s only one spot for the veteran power forward trio of Batum, Morris, and Covington. Lue is on record saying he should have played RoCo more last year, but with how steady Batum has been, I would assume he has that last spot. This would mean both Morris and RoCo are out of the rotation, along with Amir Coffey, Brandon Boston Jr., and Kobe Brown. That’s a lot of talent to have at the end of the bench, and a continued signal a consolidation trade is needed.

Playing Fast: As mentioned above, the Clippers talked all camp about playing faster. This is a very common training camp and preseason trope – very rarely will you see NBA teams and coaches say they need to play slower. What’s interesting about the Clippers saying this is that they have always played slowly in the 213 era, presumably because Kawhi Leonard is their best player and he’s a more methodical, halfcourt type of player. However, with Russ now fully integrated into the team and the addition of Martin, the Clippers do have more pieces to play up-tempo. I do continue to think Covington makes a lot of sense to play in a faster-paced team, as he’s the best rebounder of the Clippers’ potential forwards and also the best at forcing turnovers, both of which are key ingredients to getting out on the break. We will see how much the Clippers try to push the pace in this one.

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