I must be drunk. I am, hell I'll admit it. But do you folks want to see some sweet facts of why were going to ball our a$$es off in the playoffs and really make a bigger splash this year than last?
Let's take a look at a few things:
1 - CP3 and BG32 are the ONLY 2 people on our team playing over 30 MPG, 33.2 for CP3 and 32.4 for BG. CP3 is putting up 9.6AST a game and 16.6 PPG and about 2.5 steals a night in his playing time on the court. Before the season began he was averaging over 37 MPG. He's averaging his career avg in steals, 0.2 assists less a game, 2 points less a game, shooting a better FG% and FT%. Let's also note that BG is averaging almost a steal and a half a game, 18.5 pts, shooting better at the line and is playing better solid ball. Oh btw - almost 4 assists a night for a POWER FORWARD PLAYING 32MPG
2 - Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups, in all reality ( at least Hill ) could have played during game 1. The genius trainers we have and coaches, who aren't given much credit held them out to make sure they were 110% and then some. Billups is a former finals MVP and would most likely start on most NBA teams or be the 6th man. His numbers are low this year, but given the fact that our bench is massively deep, we don't need him for 28-32MPG a night. Hill must have found an old Spanish map and found the fountain of youth. This guys career looked over in 2001, yet he is Mr. Durability the last 5-6 years and is a lock down defender.
3 - Best bench in the entire league. Considering our bench single handily won us the series against Memphis last year and was WEAKER than this years bench, we should all be pretty confident going into the playoffs. We can't go to an 8 man rotation because we have 9-10 guys that are good enough to play at least 12 MPG in the playoffs and that's cutting it to the bare min. With Hill, Odom, Bledsoe, Barnes and Crawford on the bench, that's a team right there that could win 30+ games as starters even if they are undersized in a regular season. We've got 2 disposable big men in Turiaf and Hollins that we will use in big lineups and to foul, and those guys aren't slouches. Hell, Turiaf came from a championship team and is a defensive C who is undersized but plays like a bulldog that's cornered.
Also, we have Willie Green. Green is now overlooked. He may be crappy, but he's an option. And he's a player like any other that will help spread the D and can hit open jumpers if need be. So basically, we'll be rocking out a 12-13 man roster in the playoffs.
4 - We have Eric Bledsoe and you don't. Bledsoe may not ever turn into an MVP or All Star PG, but he could easily net 14-17 PPG, 5-8 AST, 4-7 REB, 2-3 STl and 1 BLk a game for a PG if he started. These aren't fictional numbers, these are per 36 min averages with slight inflations only in the assists department if he started somewhere at PG. Bledsoe to me, is a playoff PG. He will thrive the most in the playoffs, as he showed last year. Not only is he a sensational defender, one of, if not the fastest players in the league but he's a game changer off the bench in the playoffs that can give and will give an entire team fits when he's on the court. With guidance and help from Chauncey, Crawford, CP3 and VDN, he knows his role in the playoffs and he will win at least 1-2 games if we play at least 10 by himself.
5 - The bench has underperformed. Grant Hill was a rookie of the year. Odom should have been rookie of the year. Barnes should be starting. Crawford should be starting. Bledsoe should be starting. Hill may be old, but he left a starting spot in PHX to come here. Old as he is, he could probably post solid numbers. Odom has been in a funk the last couple of seasons but given minutes and a better attitude and a 14-8-3 line isn't out of the question. Barnes is playing like he wants 10 million dollars a year and is playing backup minutes to a guy that is purely 1 dimensional now.
Bledsoe could have been dealt to a dozen teams and could start on a dozen NBA teams or turn into a 6th man playing 25-32MPG easily. Crawford is a starter but is playing off the bench, and he helped ATL in their playoff runs a few years back. He may look 1 dimensional, but he's not a terrible passer and can do more than run the clock out, isolate, crossover and toss up a jumper. There's a reason why he got 4-5 assists a game for the majority of his career.
Am I guaranteeing a championship? NO. I think at the very least we'll make it to round 2 and play 6 games at the least. Which, is better than last year and 1 less game than the team has ever gotten in league history. Our 2 best players aren't playing many minutes, and although their averages are affecting career numbers, people may look back on this Clipper team and praise the coaching staff for their ability to keep these guys fresh for the majority of the year even if we don't finish as the top team in the West of the NBA.
I don't think VDN is the best coach, or even a top 8 coach. But he's getting things done. I think the goal of this team is to remain at the top of the division and stay in the hunt for the best record in the West, which is what we've done the last couple years and what I expect. Teams need to stay healthy to win, and need to get all players on the court to boost morale, which is what we've done. When the bench players minutes get cut in the playoffs, and everyone is looked upon to tighten up on their overall play, we'll be ready.
Other teams won't. Other teams that rely heavily on their best players to play giant minutes will see their players massively fatigued, or get injured. We won't have that problem, and if someone goes down an All Star, Hall of Famer or Award Winner can step in their place. Not many teams can say that, and not many teams can say that if one of their big minute guys goes down, one of those past All Stars etc that needs to step up will have the chemistry and fatigue to play big minutes like our boys.
We are the deadliest team in the West regardless of record. We have nothing to prove, but the most glory to gain. But our boys won't cry about it like Kobe or D Wade. We win we win, we lose we lose. We aren't calling people out, were figuring out ways to get better and were keeping it to ourselves.
We could have CP3 play a horrible game, but Crawford could come in and net 35 points for us. Whose going to do that on Miami? Rashard Lewis? Maybe 5 years ago. Whose going to do that on OKC? Sefolosha? In his dreams. How about the Knicks? J.R. Smith is a ballhog and unless he's shooting 80% from the floor they are toast.
We may not go far but were a better and more complete team than any team in the NBA.