We continue our 2015 NBA playoffs series outlook with the Los Angeles Clippers, a team currently holding down the No.5 position in the Western Conference. Lead by Chris Paul, the Clippers are looking to improve on a disappointing 2013-2014 postseason headlined by the Donald Sterling saga–an incident that left the organization and team distracted by the controversy of racist remarks spoken from the former owner. This season the Clippers are under new ownership but haven’t exactly matched their previous season success. With zero excuses, is it now or never for the Los Angeles Clippers?
– Team S.U. debates.
Steve Turner (NBA Contributor) – The Los Angeles Clippers have been having a decent season. Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan are shining while Blake Griffin has returned after having surgery on his right elbow. Will this be enough for the Clippers to advance to the playoffs though? I don’t think so. If the Clippers maintain the 5th seed and the Portland Trail Blazers can keep their 4th seed in the west, the Clippers could be looking at yet another 1st round exit. It is extremely possible for the Clippers to win and advance though. All-Star Chris Paul is currently leading the league in assists at 10.1 assists per game which will certainly help the Clippers quite a bit.
Also, DeAndre Jordan has been showing off his monstrous talent on the boards and impressive field goal percentage. He currently leads the league with an incredible 14.8 rebounds per game and field goal percentage (70.9 percent). DeAndre is a player the opposing team is going to have to look out for in the playoffs. The Clippers really need a 100 percent healthy Blake Griffin though. Griffin has been showing signs of his old self, but will he be feeling good come playoff time? If the Clippers don’t want to have another one and done, they are going to need the combined efforts of Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, and Blake Griffin.
Keith Rivas (Sports Unbiased Writer) – The Los Angeles Clippers, try as hard as they want but will never be able to replicate the kind of success and status that the Lakers brought (and are trying to bring back) to the city of angels. Yes, they have Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and even Doc Rivers running the team, but they don’t have the x-factor — momentum.
Take, for example, the Golden State Warriors. Golden State has been building a team with a similar up tempo playing style to the Clippers — we saw this in last year’s postseason meeting; a match-up the Clippers actually won — and it has payed off for them greatly. If one player in the rotation is injured or having an off night, there is plenty of talent to go around with the bad boys from the Bay Area.
In L.A., not so much. Small injuries here and there to Blake Griffin and on-and-off confidence from Chris Paul is not exactly something that other players — especially bench players — are going to want to get behind. In the run-and-gun game that is starting to take over the league, players, above all else, want to win now. They’re not looking to wait for more things to come together in a franchise or even in their own game, and a lot of that has to do with a mentality shift.
But that’s another story.
The bottom line when it comes to the Clippers and playoff success is simple — the West is too good. And honestly, some things were just not meant to be.
While I don’t see them necessarily being a one-and-done team (totally depends on what teams get what seed), I don’t see them getting further than round two. Golden State has only gotten better, Portland can be scary when they start to click, and Memphis, by all means, will not be one to go quietly.
Oh yeah, and there’s still the mystery of which black horse will end up as the eight seed
Jr. Williams: (NBA Editor)– Last season I picked this team to win the West, they were playing some of the best basketball in the conference and appeared to be the one team who could actually give the Spurs a run for their money. So much hope for this team and it all went down the drain as they simply refused to give maximum effort on the court in the benefit for a racist owner.
I knew the minute Sterling sold the team to Steve Ballmer, the organization would be right on track.
Well, not exactly. Plagued by injuries and a stacked Western Conference, the Clippers haven’t exactly proven to me that they stand among the elite teams.
Don’t get it twisted, the Clippers know how to score (ranked 2nd in the NBA) and share the ball better than most teams in the league, however, they also lack in the rebounding and points allowed department–important categories when the game is on the line. A healthy Blake Griffin could improve their postseason chances, but overall the Clippers don’t have an identity. “Lob City” was last years method of operation for the Clippers, so I’m interested seeing what character this team takes on during the playoffs. Griffin will be a sure target of aggression from the opposing team, but will he battle back?
If Chris Paul continues to be the toughest player on the team, then the Clippers can say goodbye to any postseason success, as its go hard or go home.
Sauping R. Arguello (NBA Contributor) – I don’t see the Los Angeles Clippers getting past the second round. I’m not even sure if they’ll get past the first round. Blake Griffin is just getting back into the fray of things and the Clippers have been an up and down team all season. DeAndre Jordan has posted some monstrous rebounding numbers but his abysmal free-throw shooting will continue to be a liability in close games (especially in the playoffs.)
Chris Paul is having a solid year but he has been overlooked by other points such as Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook. There’s a good chance they will run into one of them depending on the match-ups. Doc Rivers has yet been able to implement the hard-nosed gritty defensive style his former Boston Celtics teams were known for. I just don’t think they have the mental toughness (aside from Paul) to prevail deep into the playoffs.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin must step their game up to another level if they want to have any success in the playoffs. DeAndre Jordan has to be a defensive anchor and dominate the paint blocking shots and getting rebounds. There must be another bench player aside from Jamal Crawford to contribute both offensively and defensively.