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"This year the Clippers are going to be a playoff team, just wait and see."
Hollywood, palm trees, Beverly Hills, convertibles and the Lakers; all of these things are pure Los Angeles. The Clippers aren’t even an afterthought in the city of glitz and glamor. In some ways their putrid play and horrific history keep them from falling into the pits of irrelevancy. They are the little brother to the biggest brother in the NBA. That’s like having Jesus as a sibling.
To put it into words that every Clipper fan has blurted out at least once during a drunken sports debate, “This year the Clippers are going to be a playoff team, just wait and see.” Even I, a Clipper fan, have half-heartedly casted that out there praying that no one heard me speak but I truly believe this is the year. This year a bearded man, a serial killer, a hobbit and a ginger will try to edge themselves into Los Angeles’ limelight and into the NBA playoffs. This is the year because of one simple fact; Blake Griffin is healthy. (pleasedontjinxit, pleasedontjinxit, pleasedontjinxit)
Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, Marcus Camby, and Al Thornton, I guess.
Half these guys left by the All-Star break and the other half weren’t here long enough to unpack their suitcases, so I’m not sure if we can call any of these ‘key departures’. I do know that Marcus Camby will be missed dearly. If the Clippers had held onto him instead of dumping him for two players that weren’t staying anyway, they could be comfortably shopping Kaman for ‘Melo right about now.
Al Thornton was a good player. Not a great player, but a decent one. He regressed in his final half-season in LA and the Clips traded him for more players they didn’t plan on keeping only to replace him with a draft pick that plays exactly like he does. Your Los Angeles Clippers, everybody, that’s what they do best. Get guys past their prime, dump other before they reach it. Trade valuable players for junk only to draft players of the exact same characteristics and skill sets.
The only good news is that four of the four best players from last year’s roster (Davis, Gordon, Griffin, Kaman) are returning and all four are healthy to start the 2010-11 season.(pleasedontjinxit, pleasedontjinxit, pleasedontjinxit)
Let me just put this out there, Ryan Gomes and Randy Foye are nothing more than insurance policies. Ryan Gomes is the “just in case our draft pick to start at SF is a bust” signing of the summer. Randy Foye will forever be known as “traded for Brandon Roy on draft night”. He is here in case Denver is dumb enough to take Baron Davis’ contract in exchange for ‘Melo and Bledsoe isn’t ready to run a NBA team yet.
Eric Bledsoe is a superb basketball player. He received limited notoriety in college because he played alongside John Wall, Demarcus Cousins and two other 2010 draft picks. Look for Bledsoe to work his way into the rotation as Baron’s backup and possible replacement in the future.
Al-farouq Aminu is an athlete. At least that’s what I keep hearing. That’s great and all but the same could be said for Al Thornton and Travis Outlaw. There are two great possibilities that can come from this addition: 1.) Al becomes a better and smarter SF than the previous two or 2.) the Clippers use him as trade bait to secure Carmelo Anthony in a trade.
Blake Griffin is a monster. In pre-season play he is dropping a cool 17 ppg and grabbing an NBA leading 12.3 rpg. Most of those points have come via power moves and high flying dunks. If Blake gets the ball inside the lane, he is going to dunk it, this you can count on. I asked the tweeple of twitter what is the best possible outcome for Blake’s career and my favorite response was “Shawn Kemp with brains”. Can’t wait for all the highlights without all the babies and coke.
Cheer up, fellas.
For the Clippers it might actually be that year. The year where the Clippers make the playoffs and prove everyone wrong. The year that Clipper home games vs. the Lakers have more Blue & Red in the stands than Purple & Gold. This might be the year that people don’t go to Clipper games just to see the other team and all of this hinges on Blake Griffin and Baron Davis. If Blake can be that double machine, chances are that he can earn an all-star spot in a thinned out Western Conference. But he will need Baron to chip in. Baron Davis can single handedly turn Blake into an all-star just like how Nash turned Amar’e into one. The dribble drives dishes, the ally-oops, the pick and rolls all have to be perfected and run with precision, especially in a though Western Conference. Seven of eight playoff teams from last year still look like playoff teams (sorry, Suns) and three teams (Clippers, Hornets, Rockets) will all be battling for that #8 seed.
Predictions & Fun Facts:
- Blake Griffin will lead the NBA in dunks
- Baron Davis will shoot a ridiculously high number of 3’s.
- http://clipperblog.com/ - The Best Clipper blog on the net.
-“This year the Clippers are going to be a playoff team, just wait and see.”