15 Oct Los Angeles Clippers: 8-1
From here , it is all untrue. No pretenders. No more”if a couple of things go right” aspirants. No”maybe, just perhaps” hopefuls.
Actual contenders only.
The Clippers, by virtue of being mentioned after that debut, are one such contender.
Free of the shadow cast by Donald Sterling and imbued with the frightening enthusiasm and impossibly deep pockets of fresh owner Steve Ballmer, the Clips will seem to lock a top-three seed in the West again. This moment, tough, they will hope to progress to the Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.
The bulk of the responsibility falls upon the familiar shoulders of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, two players who could easily lead the Clips to another No. 1 end in offensive efficiency. Together with Doc Rivers’ direction and (hopefully) another measure from DeAndre Jordan, L.A. is in excellent position for yet another deep playoff run.
There are concerns.
The wing positions are somewhat weak behind J.J. Redick. Matt Barnes is slated to start in the 3, and at age 34 that there ought to be real worries that his 4.2 percentage (yes, 4.2 percent) shooting from long range during the preseason is not as a blip and more a sign his offensive game has fallen off a cliff.
Spencer Hawes was the group’s big offseason get, and as valuable as he is as a passer and floor-spacer, he will not frighten anybody on protection.
If the crime remains elite and Rivers can handle his frontcourt rotation wisely, the Clippers might be marginally better than they were a year ago. That may be sufficient for them to achieve heights they’ve never attained.