(CBS Local)-- The NBA season gets restarted this week in Orlando, Florida and the Los Angeles Clippers remain on the shortlist of title contenders.
The Clips were 44-20 before the season got shutdown due to the spread of COVID-19 and on Thursday, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will get a huge test when they matchup against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers. CBS Sports NBA writer James Herbert picked the Clippers to win it all at the beginning of the season and he still thinks the Clips are in a prime position to win their first championship in franchise history.
"Like every team, I want to see how they play in the bubble. You don't know how all of this time off is going to affect them," said Herbert in an interview with CBS Local's DJ Sixsmith. "The Clippers were playing incredibly before the hiatus. They were a much better team than they were at the start of the year. Kawhi Leonard is one of the best defensive players in the world and that effort level and intensity that you saw in the playoffs last year is being seen more in the regular season this year. He was absolutely phenomenal and definitely an MVP candidate. They have Marcus Morris now and they can go with a frontcourt of Morris, Leonard and Paul George and go really small. They're an incredibly versatile team. They were my preseason pick to win the title and it's kind of a new season. If I was forced to pick someone to win a title, they would be my pick."
While the Clippers haven't played a regular season game yet, the team has been in the news after the NBA announced Lou Williams would be forced to quarantine for 10 days following a trip to a gentlemen's club in Atlanta that he made during an excused absence for a family funeral. Meanwhile, point guard Patrick Beverley just recently returned to Orlando after leaving the bubble for an excused family emergency.
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