Before last season, the Los Angeles Clippers had played a lot of roles, and none of them were good. They were tenants of their home arena, which everyone knew was the home of the Lakers, not the Clippers. They were the team that drafted Michael Olowokandi first overall ahead of Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce. And then two offseasons ago, they took a chance again drafting an athletic, but seemingly fragile, big man in Blake Griffin, a move that hasnt worked out often in the past (oh hey, Greg Oden).
Then last year was different for the Clippers. After David Stern put the brakes on the deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers, the Clippers swooped in and nabbed the high-profile PG. With Chris Paul playing in LA a lot of things changed, Blake Griffin played out the season in a very effective campaign, and the Clippers jumped up the West high enough to grab the fifth seed in the playoffs.
And for the first time in, well, ever, the Clippers are entering the season with murmurs around the league of them being a dark horse pick for the Championship. While a championship is within sight for the Clippers, they still will need another few years before they can make it happen. The teams that battled in the Finals last year are only getting better. Not to mention the other team who plays in the Staples center isn’t looking too bad either. This doesn’t change the fact that the Clippers are a good team though.
In the offseason this season, the Clippers added a group of veterans. While none of the additions will crack the starting five, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford, and Ronny Turiaf should all put up decent performances off the bench. As Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe get better, so will the Clippers, and both are young and talented players already.
The Clippers division though, seems out of reach. The likeliest scenario involves the newly reformed LA Lakers dominating their way to the Pacific crown. Any result other than that would be shocking considering the overwhelming predictability of basketball. The Clippers, though, will likely fall directly behind their landlords for the 2nd spot in the division.
the Clippers upcoming season is going to mark the movement of their franchise. If they do well, they will continue doing well. If they don’t, well, they’ll probably be back in the lottery before too long. If Chris Paul and Blake Griffin want to stay relevant, they’ll need to make sure they keep winning games.