If you feel this headline seems a bit familiar that’s because you’ve seen this exact title on this site before in July.
Things were coming into fruition for the Los Angeles Clippers in terms of the offseason. Doc Rivers had become the head coach, Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler were sent to the Phoenix Suns in a trade that netted the Clippers J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, two wings that would open the floor up for Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. These additions were meant to put the Clippers into the conversation of championship contender alongside the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. So we polled the readers of the site to see if they thought the combination of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan was enough to get them over the hump and these were the results:
Eight-hundred and seven (58 percent) voters thought the Clippers could win with the two.
Five-hundred and fifth (39 percent) voters thought the Clippers couldn’t win with the two and that DeAndre Jordan needed to be traded.
Thirty-nine (3 percent) voters thought the Clippers couldn’t win with the two and that Blake Griffin needed to be traded.
Fast forward until the All-Star break and a few things have changed. As a whole the Clippers have played well despite fighting injuries to almost every available wing on the team. They’re atop the Pacific division at 37-18 and is currently fourth in the Western Conference behind Oklahoma City, San Antonio and the Houston Rockets. Considering the injury factor, they’re playing well based on the expectations placed upon them in the offseason.
But the real story with this team is how the Clippers bigs have played well. With little room for error do to a incompetent bench that was put together by the front office this past summer, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan both have made huge leaps in their game. With an increase in minutes and confidence, both a byproduct of Doc Rivers coaching, Jordan is becoming a force on the boards and is steadily improving on the defensive end which was his biggest weakness coming into the season.
And Blake Griffin? Well, I’ll let the numbers elaborate on who well he’s played since the year turned. In 2014, Griffin is averaging 27.9 points on 56 percent shooting (71% from the free-throw), 8.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. One can argue that Griffin has been the third best player this season as Paul George is currently dealing with what we like to call regression to the mean. His game has improved ten-fold and he’s adopting the aggressive mentality this team desperately needs come playoff time.
With that said, do you all still think the Clippers can win with these two getting the bulk of the minutes at the center and power forward position? Let us know what you think by voting in the poll below and in the comment section.