From here on in, it’s all legit. No pretenders. No”if a couple of things go right” aspirants. No more”maybe, just maybe” hopefuls.
Real contenders only.
The Clippers, by virtue of being mentioned after that debut, are just one such contender.
Free of the shadow cast by Donald Sterling and imbued with all the frightening enthusiasm and impossibly deep pockets of new owner Steve Ballmer, the Clips will seem to lock a top-three seed from the West again. This moment, tough, they will hope to progress to the Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.
The majority of the responsibility falls upon the familiar shoulders of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, two players who could easily lead the Clips to yet another No. 1 finish in offensive efficiency. With Doc Rivers’ direction and (hopefully) another measure from DeAndre Jordan, L.A. is in excellent position for another deep playoff series.
There are concerns, however.
The wing positions are weak behind J.J. Redick. Matt Barnes is slated to start at the 3, and at age 34 that there should be real worries that his 4.2 percent (yes, 4.2 percent) shooting from long range during the preseason is not as a blip and more a signal his offensive game has fallen off a cliff.
Spencer Hawes has been the team’s big offseason get, and as precious as he is as a passer and floor-spacer, he won’t frighten anybody on defense.
If the crime remains elite and Rivers can manage his frontcourt rotation wisely, the Clippers could be marginally better than they were a year ago. That may be sufficient for them to achieve heights they have never attained.
Read more: secularnews.org