The Clippers aren’t in the NBA playoffs this season… except for the ones who are. While we can’t cheer for the team, there are a number of former Clippers playing key roles on other teams in the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Once a Clipper, always a Clipper, right? Well, maybe. Let’s take a look at where some of our former friends are thriving (even the ones who Clipper Nation isn’t so fond of anymore). We’ll check in weekly as the playoffs go on to see how they’re performing.
East: 1. Miami Heat vs 8. Atlanta Hawks
Miami: The Heat actually don’t have any former Clippers on the roster (is that allowed???), but they do have Markieff Morris, who is the twin brother of Clippers forward Marcus Morris. The two are extremely supportive of each other, with Marcus cheering on Markieff as he won the 2020 title with the Lakers after the Clippers collapsed in the second round, and Markieff coming to Marcus’ Clipper playoff games during last year’s Western Conference Finals run after his Lakers were eliminated in the first round. I expect that we’ll see Marcus courtside at some of his twin’s games this postseason. However, Kieff is not a big part of Miami’s rotation and will likely only see limited situational/garbage time minutes.
Atlanta: Clippers legend Lou Williams is playing out what could be his last season on Atlanta’s bench, but unfortunately the decline that began near the end of his Clippers tenure has continued and he is not a consistent part of the Hawks’ rotation. He’s currently day to day with a minor back injury, but it’s unclear if he’d play even if he was healthy. The Hawks reunited Lou with his former Clippers teammate Danilo Gallinari, who has a subantial role on this Atlanta team and will see big minutes for as long as they survive, even if he reverts to a bench role with normal starter John Collins returning from injury.
East: 2. Boston Celtics vs 7. Brooklyn Nets
Boston: If the Celtics are in garbage time, don’t be surprised to see former Clipper forward Malik Fitts make a cameo. He only ever played a few minutes as a Clipper but has stuck around right on the fringe of the league with multiple teams. It would be a shock if he saw a single meaningful possession.
Brooklyn: One of the best players in Clippers franchise history, Blake Griffin fell from grace on and off the court and was unceremoniously traded to the Pistons and then unceremoniously bought out to sign with Brooklyn, where he has now fallen out of the rotation. I still have a lot of love in my heart for Blake and his place in Clippers history, but he’s a rough watch now. He’s out of the Nets’ rotation but it wouldn’t be totally unbelievable if they gave him a shift off the bench at some point as the series goes on.
East: 3. Milwaukee Bucks vs 6. Chicago Bulls
Milwaukee: After a mid-season trade from the Clippers this year, Serge Ibaka has found himself in a depth role for the Bucks. He won’t see minutes as part of Plan A with Giannis Antetokounpo, Bobby Portis, and Brook Lopez sharing the frontcourt minutes, but he’s probably in line for situational usage at some point to provide cover for foul trouble to one of those guys. Bucks depth piece Rayjon Tucker was in a Clippers training camp and got some pre-season reps, but isn’t officially a former Clipper.
Chicago: No former Clippers! No wonder most people are picking Bucks in 4 in this series. Major oversight in the roster construction process for the Bulls’ front office.
East: 4. Philadelphia 76ers vs 5. Toronto Raptors
Philadelphia: It’s no secret that Doc Rivers, who is the winningest regular season and playoff coach in Clippers franchise history by a laughable margin, is looking for some redemption with the Sixers this year. A couple of his former Clipper players are in the picture. The most accomplished center in franchise history, DeAndre Jordan, finds himself ineffective in a bench role late in his career with many observers actually citing Rivers’ tendency to over-trust his veteran backup as a potential weakness. Another former Clipper, forward Tobias Harris, has drawn extreme criticism from Sixers fans this year but is an important core starter who will be a big part of whatever success the Sixers find this year.
Toronto: Another team with no Clippers! Maybe I shouldn’t have picked them to win this series…
West: 1. Phoenix Suns vs 8. New Orleans Pelicans
Phoenix: The most important former Clipper to this year’s playoffs is undoubtedly the near-immortal Chris Paul, who is absolutely essential to the league’s best team. Paul exorcised some demons last year by reaching the Finals, but he’s hungry for the ultimate prize this time around. The Suns also feature a much younger former Clipper in Landry Shamet, who might not see time in every game but could get situational usage as a shooter throughout what is expected to be a long run deep into the playoffs.
New Orleans: The only former Clipper on the Pelicans roster is Garrett Temple, who played 26 games with LAC after the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline. He shouldn’t see much of the floor in what one would expect to be a brief 4 or 5 game postseason for New Orleans. However, the Pelicans’ head coach is former Clipper Willie Green, who was with the team for two early Lob City years as a player and worked behind the scenes in the organization after retiring.
West: 2. Memphis Grizzlies vs 7. Minnesota Timberwolves
Memphis: The Grizzlies have no former Clippers, but they basically have no former anythings. Most of their players are within their first few years in the NBA and have only ever played for Memphis.
Minnesota: Another very young team, the Wolves have on key former Clipper headliner: starting guard Patrick Beverley, who is every bit the cultural tone-setter for the Wolves that he was for the Clippers.
West: 3. Golden State Warriors vs 6. Denver Nuggets
Golden State: No Clippers. Sad!
Denver: Mike Malone’s Nuggets are the most Clipper-laden team in the playoffs, with Austin Rivers, JaMychal Green, Jeff Green, and DeMarcus Cousins all playing roles for the team this season. None of them are part of Denver’s core, but they’ll probably all play in every game for Denver. Austin is important because of his gritty perimeter defense, while Cousins’ ability to swing a bench shift in the few minutes that Nikola Jokic can turn wins into losses and losses into wins.
West: 4. Utah Jazz vs 5. Dallas Mavericks
Utah: I’m glad that the Jazz have no former Clippers. I want better for our guys after they move on.
Dallas: Remember Reggie Bullock? The former Doc Rivers draft pick who was traded for Austin has ended up having a nice career after taking some time to come into his own for the Clippers. He’s starting for Dallas to provide wing shooting with Tim Hardaway Jr. injured. The Mavericks also have fan favorite Boban Marjanovic, who isn’t a part of Jason Kidd’s normal rotation but could always see a few minutes as part of an in-series chess match. Kidd has used Boban quite a bit less than his predecesor Rick Carlisle did, though, so it wouldn’t be surprising if we didn’t see him at all.
As far as I can tell, that’s it for former Clippers in the 2022 NBA Playoffs! Who will you be rooting for, and who will you be rooting against? Is there anyone who you are most excited to follow over the coming weeks?