Debate in the Paint: Clippers Poised for Major Improvement
The Los Angeles Clippers are going to be pretty good this year. Yeah, OK, so my heart just skipped a little bit typing that. But I think they're going to be OK.
Just how good of a season are the Clippers going to have? Well, I'm thinking they might end up being the most improved team in the league, and, yes, that includes the Washington Wizards, who figure to improve a lot.
Both teams won just 19 games a year ago. But in 2009-10, I'm calling that the Clippers will be knocking on the playoff door. The Wizards might also. But it would be a greater achievement for the Clippers to make the playoffs in the Western Conference than the Wizards in the East.
Here's why I'm thinking the Clippers could be dangerous: I'm smelling a big year from Baron Davis. You know it and I know it. He's had a knack for bouncing back from a bad season or two in the past with a real nice one and this would seem to be the year for the real nice one.
Sure, he was terrible last year. What's the point of rehash, though? But the year before that, he played the full 82 games in Golden State and led the Warriors to 48 wins. We know the "We Believe" run he led the Warriors on the season before that.
We also know that with Davis gone, the Warriors reverted to being a 29-win team. But that's the kind of impact Davis can have when he's healthy and playing well. Davis knows he had a bad year in 2008-09 and has acknowledged as much. Point is, he's got something to prove.
Though Davis hasn't been necessarily consistent, he does have a track record of leading teams into the postseason. He's done it six times already. And it's worth mentioning, a healthy Davis is the perfect kind of backcourt mate for someone like Eric Gordon, who is a little undersized at the two.
There's a good chance that Blake Griffin is really going to help, too. Think about it ... you lose a Zach Randolph and you get, ideally, a low-maintenance, hungry rookie power forward whose athleticism should get him numbers by accident.
We know Marcus Camby isn't what he used to be and Chris Kaman will never be what you wanted him to be, but if they rejoin the party even a little bit, the Clippers are going to have a little something up front.
I know what you're saying ... "Those are big ifs." And they are. But there's talent and experience on this roster, and there's some balance to it also. They've got a nice young piece or two and enough veterans to get it done late in the season.
Yeah, call me crazy, but I think the Clippers are going to be all right this year.
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