LA Clippers: nba FUTURES & BETTING ODDS
The Buffalo Braves began play in 1970, joining the Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers as expansion teams. The Braves started slowly, going 22-60 or 21-61 in each of their first three seasons, but after drafting Bob McAdoo, who would be named Rookie of the Year in 1972-73, the Braves made their first postseason in 1973-74, where they would fall to the Boston Celtics. By 1974-75, McAdoo had improved enough to be named league MVP, although the team would fall to the Celtics, after winning their first ever playoff series against the 76ers.
In one of the most bizarre deals in NBA history Braves owner John Y. Brown Jr. traded franchises with Celtics owner Irv Levin, who would move the team to San Diego in 1978.
The San Diego Clippers would never make the playoffs in their six seasons in the city, with Levin selling the team to new owner Donald Sterling for $13.5 million in 1981. Sterling would move the team to Los Angeles in 1984, despite the league being vehemently against the move, and though he was fined $6 million dollars, he was able to fight the number down to $6 million dollars.
If you were to bet on the Los Angeles Clippers to be more successful than their Buffalo and San Diego editions, you would have been disappointed at first. In fact, the Los Angeles Clippers odds decreased, as the team lost 50 or more games in each of their first seven seasons in L.A.
In 1991-92 the team finally broke out, with new coach Larry Brown and star players Danny Manning and Ron Harper leading the team into their first postseason in L.A. The Los Angeles Clippers odds were that of an underdog in their series against Karl Malone, John Stockton and the Utah Jazz, and they would fall in a decisive fifth game, a feat they would match in the 1993 playoffs, when they were edged out by the Houston Rockets. It would be a dozen years before the Clippers won another playoff game as they only made the playoffs once in that stretch, in 1997 where they were promptly swept by the Jazz. Things hit rock bottom in the late 90’s, as the team won only 41 games in a three-year span.
By 2005, Clippers exec Elgin Baylor had built the Clippers into a contender with Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, and Sam Cassell as the team’s stars, and some people would even bet on the Los Angeles Clippers to make a deep playoff run. The Clips blew past Denver in the first round for the franchise’s first playoff series win in 30 years, and the Los Angeles Clippers odds were pretty even with the Suns in the second round, but the Clippers blew a 2-0 lead and Phoenix prevailed in seven games.
Many fans bet on the Los Angeles Clippers becoming playoff regulars, but Brand suffered a major injury and the team regressed, eventually missing the postseason five years in a row from 2001-11.
The Los Angeles Clippers odds would change like never before when they drafted Blake Griffin out of Oklahoma first overall in the 2009 NBA draft. While Griffin would miss his entire rookie season with a knee injury, the team would add DeAndre Jordan and Caron Butler, and trade for star point guard Chris Paul. The Clippers would go 40-26 in 2011-12, knocking out the Grizzlies in seven games before being swept by the Spurs. The Los Angeles Clippers were at an all-time high in 2012-13 and the team would win 50 games for the first time in franchise history, going 56-26, but they were upset by the Grizzlies in the first round.
Experts would bet on the 2013-14 Los Angeles Clippers to finally make their first NBA Finals and the Los Angeles Clippers odds looked strong when they went a franchise-record 57-25 in the regular season, and the Clips would beat the Warriors in seven games, but they fell to the Thunder in six games.
During this stretch the Clippers acquired new ownership after longtime owner Donald Sterling was caught on tape making racist remarks and banned for life from the NBA. Eventually former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would buy the team for $2 billion dollars.
Fans would bet on the Los Angeles Clippers to succeed in the new Ballmer era, and while they won at least 56 games for the third season in a row in 2014-15, they would once again lose in the conference semifinals, this time to the Rockets in seven games.
For a franchise that’s been around for 50 seasons, the Los Angeles Clippers odds of making a single conference finals had to be extremely good, but they have never made it that far. The Clippers would lose in the first round of the 2016 and 2017 postseasons before missing the postseason entirely in 2018, snapping a six-year streak. In 2018-19 the Clippers would make the playoffs again, only to lose to the eventual Western conference champs, the Warriors, in six games.
After the 2018-19 season, the team would sign two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and trade for All-Star Paul George, leading many experts to bet on the Los Angeles Clippers to win their first ever title. While the Clippers would lose in the second round of the playoffs in the bubble in Orlando, LA managed to reach the NBA Western Conference Finals without Kawhi Leonard, who suffered a knee injury in the second round against top-seeded Utah. The Clippers fell to Phoenix in six games, and LA is hoping that a healthy Leonard and George will allow the team to take the next step in the 2021-22 season and reach its first-ever NBA Finals.
Retired Numbers: None