Today ESPN posted the Western Conference picks from its’ panel of 10 “experts.” The Clippers got votes as high as 7th, and as low as 12th, with the average of them all being 9.3. If they’re right, then to get into the playoffs we’ll need to get better than one more team and one-third of another one.
I gotta say I was surprised by the people who went for the two extremes. J.A. Adande put the Clips at 7th, which I think is probably a bit generous (I’ve predicted 8th). Interestingly, everyone on the panel who put us in the playoffs, they have the Suns on the outside and the Jazz up top. I guess I’m the only one who thinks the Jazz’ll implode with the Boozer-drama, while the Suns will flourish now that they’re given free reign to run again. I believe across the board everyone said the Jazz’ll make it, with some picking them to come in as high as fourth. We’ll have to see.
On the other side of the Clipper spectrum, John Hollinger and Jemele Hill put our boys all the way down at 12. Yes, 12! They think the Yao-less, Tmac-less Rockets will be better. They think the Thunder will get their act together more than we will. They think that Golden State, even though they’re already embroiled in internal drama with a deposed captain who no longer wants to be there, these experts think those guys’ll do better than us. Why? Jemele Hill uses this unassailable logic:
Griffin’s hustle and work ethic should have a rub-off effect, and Camby will be even more motivated because he’s in a contract year. Problem is, it’s the Clippers, and you can think only worst-case scenario.
If you think that’s bad, see what she has to say about the Rockets:
No Artest. No Yao. And no McGrady early on. As good as Ariza was in the playoffs, we’ll see him return to Earth when he doesn’t get all those wide-open looks that Kobe and Pau created. As much as I love Brooks, Scola and Battier, the Rockets have lost too much to compete with the superpowers.
The truly mystifying thing is that even though that’s her entire set of comments for Houston, she then puts them 8th? Jemele, methinks thou hath lost any sheen of respectability.