I’ll save words and attention spans by directly hoping into the breakdown of HOOPSWORLD’s version of a 2012-13 Los Angeles Clippers’ season preview because it’s going to take plenty of words and analysis to break this bad boy down.
I will say, I’m not posting this to demean anything HOOPSWORLD has to say since I read their content normally because it is well written and has many great points of view. I may agree, I may argue, either way this piece is meant to get the most possible points out about the Clips in the upcoming season.
Notice how I do not mention Chris Paul’s upcoming free agency. He is still a Clipper for this season. Instead of forcing myself to have a heart attack by constantly wondering whether or not he’s going to come back, let’s focus on the season we are really previewing — 2012-13. Next season will be the Paul discussion because this is when it’s really going to matter what anyone thinks about it.
To the preview:
Yannis Koutroupis brings up a few good topics to cover right from the get-go in his portion of What Five Guys Have to Say. He says the Clippers are coming off a good year and made some wise signings in the off-season in Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes and Ryan Hollins. He goes on to say they make the team more potent offensively, but are still not at the level of Western Conference powers — the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
I agree with him in the fact, the Clippers brought in players who will not only produce but will thrive with the Clippers because of their credentials. I’ve said the Clippers are the deepest team in the league countless times. Even though Hill, Odom and Crawford can all put up 10-plus points a game, every single one of them can play defense, except Crawford.
Let’s face it, the Clips had no problems scoring points. The bench had issues every once in awhile, but Mo Williams calmed the buzz down. Crawford is a better scorer than Williams and Hill, and Odom definitely improve the unit.
In my opinion, the Clippers lost more games because they couldn’t stop people. DeAndre Jordan only wanted to play defense every other play and after Caron Butler (a slightly above average defender), there wasn’t anyone to step out on the wings and put a hand in someones face. Barnes and Hill have what it takes to stop opposing wing scorers. The perimeter defense was especially in trouble without Chauncey Billups and Eric Bledsoe. Both are coming into this season healthy.
Also on the defensive end, the Clippers lost Reggie Evans — an inside bully who wanted to fight someone for rebounds.
I don’t think they brought in anyone with his Charles Oakley-like physicality but Barnes, Odom and Hill will definitely fill the gap on the boards, even though they’re builds are smaller.
Yes, the Lakers and the Thunder have a better starting five, or at least bigger names on paper, but I’d take the Clippers bench to outscore both these teams in every contest.
The Lakers added Antwan Jamison and Jodie Meeks. Both of these guys are shooters and offensive threats, although, I think Odom and Crawford will put up better numbers. After those two, who do hey go to, Jordan Hill? I’m definitely running with the near 40-year-old Grant of the same last name.
The Thunder have James Harden, followed by little else. Eric Maynor is a game manager and Nick Collison showed up in the 2012 NBA Finals because the Miami Heat didn’t box him out. I like Maynor and Collison, but again I’m taking the Clippers’ community over the Thunders minimal helpers.
Bill Ingram mentions the thin front court.
I want to agree, but I am putting faith into Hollins and Ronny Turiaf, and a team scheme instead of writing off the front court. They’re not on the team to score 10-points a game, they’re around to grab rebounds, swat shots (Hollins role) and be some inside muscle. There isn’t a doubt in my mind — they can do the jobs asked of them.
Look, with Griffin and Jordan in the post, there isn’t much need for low-post offensive threats. The one they do have is qualified since Odom can definitely post up, grab rebounds and do anything else a player who was a bench power forward for two-NBA Championship teams can do.
There are only so many looks a player can get in a game. With shooters such as Paul, Billups, Hill, Crawford, Odom, Butler and Barnes — are the Clippers really going to feed it inside enough to spend money on more offensive minded low-post players? No, so instead, they spent it on defense. Great idea.
Joel Brigham brought up the best (most concerning point) about the Clippers going into next season — Vinny Del Negro is still the Clippers’ head coach.
I watched him squander plenty of chances as the Chicago Bulls’ coach and I wouldn’t expect him to do anything different in LA. Last season, I thought he made a lot of bad decisions including how he used his rotations, defensive match ups, when and when not to call a time out and how to get the best out of his players.
With Del Negro as the coach, the Clips will always be a step behind the other elite teams in the league. Yes, I do think the Clippers are going to be an elite team this season.
All five of the guys said the Clippers will be second in the Pacific Division — I agree.
As I said above and Eric Pincus says on HW, the Clippers’ weakness last season was defense. Although we don’t know what they actually have, I think the new additions will take last season’s average unit to a more than above-average defensive team. I can only hope Jordan becomes the player he has the physical ability to become.
I think the Chris Paul-Blake Griffin duo is very hard to stop. Add a player such as Jamal Crawford — who can put up 20 points in 10 minutes — and a player such as Odom — who can do anything asked of him — and the Clippers are a very dangerous team.
My preseason prediction is the Clippers will finish third behind the Thunder and the Lakers and will make a long run in the postseason. I’m not quite ready to push them into the Western Conference Championship, but if they did make it, I wouldn’t be surprised. On the other hand, I could also believe if they don’t beat out teams such as the San Antonio Spurs and fall deeper than third, simply because Del Negro is on the sidelines.