It is now appropriate to talk about the Clippers “peaking at the right time,” with the playoffs only four games away. They’ve won 13 of the past 15, and naturally people are taking notice. Here are some Found Objects from around the web:
- The reason the Clippers are in this position? Chris Paul, obviously. Our Jordan Heimer recently made the case for Paul as an MVP candidate at ESPNLA . He argues that Paul has almost singlehandedly changed the way Clipper games tend to end, and that if there is an MVP conversation at all — as opposed to just giving the award to LeBron James, which would be completely justified based on any number of metrics and just plain common sense — CP3 belongs in there as much as anyone else.
- Tuesday’s “Contenders or Pretenders” version of the 5-on-5 roundtable at ESPN.com asked five writers about five different playoff teams, including Los Clippers. Three of them called them “pretenders” — all citing some combination of coaching weakness, defensive ineptitude, or both. But D.J. Foster and Tom Haberstroh (otherwise known as the smartest guy in the room), see the Clippers as legitimate contenders. D.J. alluded to the timing of their recent supersurge and both agreed on the presence of Chris Paul as a determining factor.
- In their most recent podcast, Kevin and Jordan cover the recent signature win over the Thunder that gave the Clippers a 3-1 edge in the season series, and give second thought to some earlier impressions of Nick Young and Vinny Del Negro. My two cents: Nick Young didn’t became an All-Star overnight and we have seen time and time again that talented NBA teams can win in spite of coaching. That doesn’t mean Young can’t be a valuable piece down the stretch (he can), but let’s hope that any decisions about either person’s future with the team are not influenced by emotion or small sample size.
- In a tweet during last night’s game, Kevin also pointed out that DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe have been devastatingly effective during their limited time on the court together. In 85 total minutes (doesn’t it seem like they played together that much in the first week of last year?), they have a Offensive Rating of 104.2 and a Defensive Rating of 81.7. When you consider how limited they still are as offensive players, it’s pretty impressive that they are still above average. But the defensive possibilities of this pairing, as you might expect, are what should excite Clipper fans. Now if they’d only let Bledsoe and Paul share the backcourt, we’d really be in business…
- D.J. also took time out of his busy schedule recently for the kids, in an interview with USC’s Neon Tommy. He touched on a bunch of different topics, including a few looking ahead to the postseason. Definitely worth a read, and it got me thinking, maybe it’s time to bring back the ClipperBlog mailbag with so many interesting topics to discuss.
- And finally, more D.J. Here making an appearance on ESPN Radio’s Max and Marcellus show to discuss the hot streak, Del Negro and Swaggy P, among other things. But the best part might around the 24-minute mark, when our man so graciously steps aside upon hearing that Ralph Lawler would be following him on the program.
- ***Update*** I came across this after posting, but had add it in here. Neil Payne of Basketball Prospectus has a thorough look into how we should evaluate Coach of the Year qualifications. I heard the Denver announcers allude to Del Negro as a leading candidate, and more of that seems inevitable as they march into the playoffs. Narratives will come out in full force, so I can’t recommend this piece highly enough as a way of putting this song and dance we through through annually into perspective.