The season is quickly approaching and predictions are starting to pour in from all corners of the internet. Let’s take a look at what the other basketball minds out there see for the Clippers this year.
Mike Moreau at HoopsWorld.com:
“I really think the Clippers have a unique combination of talent, youth, experience, and enough character to keep the characters from screwing things up. This team isn’t about the inmates running the asylum anymore. They won’t rise and fall on the emotions or mood swings of Davis and Davis (Baron and Ricky), or be devastated by an injury or two. They also have a coach in Mike Dunleavy who is hungry to get back to the playoffs, as well. He’s been deep into the playoffs before, and he wants some vindication. The Clips aren’t the Lakers, but they aren’t the old Clippers either. They could be that 7th or 8th seed and be a tough first-round matchup for any team looking past them to the next round, or toward another championship.”
Mr. Moreau hits on same great points here, particularly when he references the team no longer being devastated by an injury or two. The growth of DeAndre Jordan and addition of quality banger Craig Smith give the Clippers the depth in the front court that just wasn’t there last season. Depth for a team where worst case scenario usually becomes reality is an absolute must.
Bethlehem Shoals at The Baseline:
“At some point in the second half, things will click, not only click but click when games actually matter. The Clippers will find themselves playing meaningful games, trying to squeeze into the playoffs—if only for a week or so. It will be downright haunting, and with this roster, it won’t be seen as a fluke or a stepping stone. It’ll be a sign that, with the pieces to get it right, this franchise is still occasionally capable of doing so.”
Shoals isn’t as bullish on the Clippers playoff chances as others, but he does admit that the Clippers will be “worth following” this year and should be in the hunt. He also warns of a Blake Griffin letdown, explaining that expectations may be just a tad on the high side.
John Hollinger at ESPN.com:
“As a result, the Clippers may find themselves back in familiar territory — albeit one year later than they expected — as one of several contenders in the West for the conference’s final playoff spot…Ultimately, however, too many question marks remain to comfortably place the Clippers in the conference’s top eight…The Clips may not be a playoff team yet, but with a rising star in the frontcourt and a wad of cap space to build around him, they’re finally headed in the right direction.”
34-48, 4th place in Pacific Division, 12th in Western Conference
Hollinger has the thankless job of going on the record for predicting win totals for all NBA teams, and concludes here that the Clippers aren’t quite there yet. He believes the big weakness is the starting small forward position, where he’s wary of Al Thornton and not sold on Butler as a starter. Both rank pretty poorly using his patented PER system, so it’s easy to see why he feels that way. Butler’s experience shouldn’t be slept on though – he’s been part of many winning teams and has reached the playoffs as both a marginal role player and a starter in the past. Butler may not be the “ideal” starting small forward, but the past indicates that at the very least, he’s serviceable.
Experts panel at ESPN.com:
“Giddy Clippers fans might not appreciate this forecast, but keep in mind: A 33-49 record would be a 14-game leap, and L.A. has been such a disheveled franchise it’s going to have to prove itself to our panel. That said, some see the Clips winning as many as 50 games, thanks in large part to the arrival of Blake Griffin.”
33-49, 10th in Western Conference
The experts differ pretty heavily here, but 15 losses and 50 wins seem like a nice floor and ceiling for this year’s team.
What does everyone predict for the Clippers win total this year? Playoffs, or no playoffs? Speak now, or forever hold your peace.