The Los Angeles Clippers have had the most eventful offseason for sure. The whole Donald Sterling saga and the selling of the team was definitely a big distraction to the players and coaches. New Clippers’ owner, Steve Ballmer, made it very clear that the distractions are over and it is time to win. Ballmer debuted as owner on August 18th and showed energy and excitement right off the bat. This is positive for the organization, especially after hearing that some players refused to play if Sterling was still the owner. Playing without Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and head coach Doc Rivers, would be devastating to this franchise. Luckily the team will not have to experience such an ordeal. Chris Paul is tagged as the best point guard in the league, and rightfully so. Paul is a player who can make his teammates better by just by being present on the floor. Blake Griffin is a player who had the reputation of being just “a dunker”, and has made many critics eat their words. Griffin has developed some great post moves and even a mid range jump shot. With these two studs, Doc Rivers is confident about the upcoming season. Let’s not forget about veterans, Jamal Crawford and Hedo Turkoglu. With this team, the Clippers look to take the big step from a playoffs team to championship caliber team.
MY STARTING FIVE
- Clippers 2014-2015 Western Conference Ranking: #4
- Projected Win-Loss Record: 55-27
The Clippers have been a playoffs team for several consecutive years, but gets eliminated early and never has a shot to compete for the coveted NBA title. This year is a little different because they have a huge chip on their shoulder. Throughout the offseason, the disgust with Donald Sterling was very visible from the players, coaches, fans, and the entire organization. They would love nothing more then to bring a championship to their fans, so all is forgotten about that awful incident.
When talking about the good of this team, Chris Paul’s name must be mentioned. Paul could very well have MVP hopes this year, especially with the injuries to Kevin Durant and Paul George. When thinking of Paul, many would categorize him as a pass first type of player. While he might be an highly efficient passer, let’s not forget that he can flat out score the ball. Despite his size, Paul gets to the rim better than anyone in the league and his jump shot is top notch. From three, mid-range, or close inside; if he is left open, he will make the opposition pay.
It also helps that Paul has two high flying big men to pass to. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan may be the two most explosive players in the league. Jordan has mediocre post moves and a bad jump shot; however, he is not a person who you want to meet at the rim. Jordan is also a phenomenal defender and rebounder.
Blake Griffin is turning into the face of the Clippers. Appearing on many commercials and advertisements, Griffin is showing a side of him that people love, which is entertainment. He is one of the most liked players in the NBA and he plays like a star on the court. He has developed an overall game that will turn him into a top big man. Expect big numbers from Griffin and Paul followed by a top five finish for the Clippers.
The bench play of the Clippers should cause some concern in Los Angeles. With the exception of Jamal Crawford and Spencer Hawes, the Clippers bench is below average in my opinion. The mediocrity starts with players like Glen Davis, Jordan Farmar, Reggie Bullock, and an aged Matt Barnes. The starters will be asked to carry much of the workload, but at the end of the regular season, this can take its toll on players. If the bench can produce, the Clippers have the potential to be a very dangerous team, although It does not appear as if they have the bench to play nine of ten guys a night. This team may have to play seven or eight guys and try to be successful.
A big problem for this franchise over the past few years is getting over the hump. Can they make the leap from a playoffs team to title contender? They seem to have the roster every year to do so, however, something always happens to knock them out of the postseason. The fans are certainly hoping that this is a different year and a different team. There is definitely more positive feelings and energy after Sterling sold the team, and the Clippers will use that to their advantage.
When a team is knocked out of the playoffs early every season, frustration builds and confidence diminishes. Will this negative side effect happen within the Clippers’ ball club? That is yet to be seen. The Clippers are set to prove doubters wrong and contend for an NBA championship this season.