NBA Off-Season Preview: Los Angeles Clippers
Record (53-29) The Los Angeles Clippers had another solid regular season, finishing with a 53-29 record. But it is the team’s performance in the postseason that ultimately judges the season. Once again, the playoffs did not go as planned, two years ago the Clippers had a 3-1 series lead against the Houston Rockets and someway blew the series, resulting in a Game 7 loss. Fast forward to this season and going up against a renewed Portland Trail Blazers team, the Clippers held a 2-0 series lead. You would think after last seasons playoff loss, the team would have matured and could finish a series off. But no, they simply could not. The Clippers lost both away games and to make matters worse, Chris Paul would miss the rest of the series due to a fractured right hand. It went all downhill from there as the Clippers would lose the next two games as well, ending the series and the season with four consecutive defeats. In all three seasons with Doc Rivers as head coach, the Clippers have made the playoffs, however simply stumbling in the postseason and being unable to replicate their regular season performances. For the last few seasons, the Clippers seem to be a solid choice to make out of the West during the regular season because they do play attractive basketball and can flat out play. Especially, with the talents at their disposal, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Jamal Crawford to name a few. With those types of all-star players you definitely expect much more than a first round loss. A run to the conference finals surely is possible. Though, injuries do play a part in a team’s mindset and overall play, this is not a one time situation. Therefore, perhaps the team is just not good enough to compete against the best when it comes to fighting for a championship at the end of the season. Coach Rivers cannot possibly be the reason for the downfall in the playoffs; has to be put on the players because as a coach you can only do so much. It is up to the players to consistently perform especially, at the most important time in the season, the playoffs. During the summer, the Clippers will look to recruit talent in order to help overcome the playoff wall they have run into recently. First off, Paul Pierce is indecisive on his future in the NBA, he potentially will retire and call an end to his career. Another player that perhaps will not return is Pablo Prigioni, who was signed last summer from the Rockets. Although the 39 year old did contribute off the bench, the Clippers will probably be looking for better proven veterans with plenty left in the tank . The organization is said to become part of the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, and why not give it a go. Durant would be an exceptional acquisition for any NBA team. Exactly the type of player the Clippers need, a player that can create his own shot consistently. Furthermore, the team have the 25th and 33rd pick in this year’s draft and will definitely look at forwards and centers as potential options with the two picks as DeAndre Jordan the only center on the team who can provide quality minutes.
NBA Off-Season Previews
Atlantic Division: Boston Celtics – Brooklyn Nets – New York Knicks – Philadelphia 76ers – Toronto Raptors Central Division: Chicago Bulls – Cleveland Cavaliers – Detroit Pistons – Indiana Pacers – Milwaukee Bucks Southeast Division: Atlanta Hawks – Charlotte Hornets – Miami Heat – Orlando Magic – Washington Wizards Southwest Division: Dallas Mavericks – Houston Rockets – Memphis Grizzlies – New Orleans Pelicans – San Antonio Spurs Northwest Division: Denver Nuggets – Minnesota Timberwolves – Oklahoma City Thunder – Portland Trail Blazers – Utah Jazz Pacific Division: Golden State Warriors – Los Angeles Clippers – Los Angeles Lakers – Phoenix Suns – Sacramento Kings