Dec. 30, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA; A billboard in downtown Los Angeles of Los Angeles Clippers players Blake Griffin (32), Chris Paul (3) and DeAndre Jordan (6) before the Clippers home opener against the Chicago Bulls at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN ranks Clippers 8th in 'Future Power Rankings'

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Looks like the future is bright for the Los Angeles Clippers if you let ESPN tell it.

With the NBA season approaching ESPN has updated their “Future Power Rankings” and the Clips have jumped into the top ten from the twelfth overall spot since their May edition.

The criteria for best team is broken off into five categories: Players, Management, Market, Draft and Money. The players category is worth 50 percent of the total score. Management/money  are worth 16.7 percent of the score and draft/money are worth 8.3 percent fo the score.

Here’s how the Clippers faired in all five spots along with their overall ranking in the league.

  • Players – 71.3 (5th)
  • Management – 41.9 (20th)
  • Market – 73.2 (5th)
  • Draft – 33.9 (22nd)
  • Money – 41.0 (22nd)

The player situation is easy to see. Going into the future the Clippers will have Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick and DeAndre Jordan. That’s a pretty good core especially if Jordan pans out as a defensive enforcer in the middle. The market is obvious as the club is stationed in Los Angeles, one of the biggest and most popular cities in America. The Clips ranks relatively low in money/draft and management. Considering they’ll be competiting for a ‘ship for the next few years their draft picks won’t have a huge impact. That also affects their monetary situation and they’re capped out. And management? If they didn’t acquire Doc Rivers and kept Vinny Del Negro they’d be lower on this list.

Kevin Pelton had this to say about the future of the Clippers:

The Clippers jumped four spots into the top 10, the biggest upward move of any team in the top half of the rankings. That reflects two developments in particular — the Clippers bringing back Chris Paul as an unrestricted free agent and replacing Vinny Del Negro as head coach with Doc Rivers.

While Paul’s new maximum six-year, $107 million contract was hardly surprising, making his return official still solidified the Clippers’ position as contenders. They also upgraded their talent by swapping Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler for Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick, giving them a well-balanced starting lineup. Our panel bumped them from 10th to fifth in the Players category.

In terms of management, the Clippers took a bigger leap from 26th to 20th. While there’s still skepticism about player-personnel decisions (and Rivers’ role in them), there are no such issues with Rivers on the sideline. He’s an immediate, massive upgrade over Del Negro.

Since the Clippers didn’t add to their interior defense — and lost their best defensive reserve in the frontcourt, Lamar Odom — Rivers will have to earn his salary and the first-round pick the team sent Boston for his services by engineering the defensive improvement necessary for the Clippers to emerge from a crowded pack of Western Conference contenders.

The Clippers finished above the Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies. To see the complete Future Power Rankings hit the link here.

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Tags: Blake Griffin Chris Paul ESPN Future Power Rankings Los Angeles Clippers NBA

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