Analysis of the Clippers in the West

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clipper*joe
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With 8 play-offs spots to 15 teams in the west I will try to explain why I feel the Clippers will get a spot on the short list based on what we've done compared to what other teams have done last season and the off-season.

I will automatically write in the sure bets so we can get to the meat of things.

  1. SPURS - The only true sure shot

  2. DALLAS - will get to the play-offs but their armor has been pierced. great regular season team but not much else. Teams are recognizing that so I see better competition this regular season.

  3. SUNS - Nash and the cast are getting older. The window is closing.

Giving away Kurt Thomas was a mistake and picking up Grant Hill was also a mistake.

  1. Houston - If McGrady is healthy and Francis accepts his role and keeps quite

I will also write in what I feel are "no chance" teams.

  1. Timberwolves - fill in the blank

  2. kings - no changes ...no dice!

  3. Sonics - good young talent but in a rebuilding stage

  4. Blazers - Good young players but no experience

Here is where it gets a little sticky

  1. Clippers (40-42)

  2. Nuggets (45-37)

  3. Hornets (39-43)

  4. Lakers (42-40)

  5. Grizzlies (22-60)

  6. Jazz (51 -31)

  7. Warriors (42-40)

Of the seven teams I would drop the following;

  1. LAKERS - no new major changes to the team although Mihm will be back...big deal. Fisher will not make a difference and Kobe will not be happy nor the players for bashing them. It's a no win situation there.

  2. WARRIORS - Nelly is unhappy about contract (guaranteed money $10.5 million) so he hasn't committed to coaching the team. If they get a different coach, the run and gun might be no more. The loss of Jason Richardson (16 ppg) was a bad move. Adding Croshere(5ppg) was a bad move in my opinion. Keep in mind that they got hot towards the last of the season because Baron Davis was healthy. I really don't see them playing consistent this year without the help of Richardson and an almost likely scenario that at some point Davis will be hurt.

  3. HORNETS- I really haven't seen much of a difference with the team. Although Stojakovic will return , he isn't the same player he was in Sacramento. The guy has been plagued with injury the last few years. I don't see any improvement on this team so I see a repeat of last season.

  4. GRIZZLIES- Grizzlies have acquired the likes of Navarro but doe's anyone think he can changed 22-60 season to a play-off contender???

    I know Gasol was out for a better part of the season but even when he came back not much improvement resulted from that. Gasol is an unhappy player and even with his buddy Navarro on board might not make him any happier. They will improve but I don't think they will see the post season

  • At this point there is but 2 teams that can give the Clippers a hard time.
  1. Nuggets- I see them making the play-offs but I don't see them any better than last year. Chucky Atkins will not improve this team. He needs the ball and with Anthony & Iverson on the court , it just won't happen. It will not take long before Chucky voices his opinions. They should have kept Blake because of his passing skills and his unselfishness. I think it was a downgrade at PG. They should improve on the defensive end with Martin coming back but how long with Karl and Martin get along? How will that effect the team?

  2. JAZZ- this is a tricky one for me. Without Fisher's experience at Utah, how will it effect this upcoming season? How will AK47 react to his disappointing season last year. Will he be the cry baby or will he man up and produce??? Will Memut Okur bounce back from his disappointing play during the play-offs??? I hope not. I know it's a lot of wishful thinking on my part but I had to come up with something on this team.lol

They will make the play-offs again but anything can happen up until then.

The result of my analysis is that in my opinion there will be 6 teams that are almost a lock-in for a play-off spot and 2 spots left up for grabs. We can easily be one of the two remaining teams fighting for them. Doe's this sound far-fetched now considering what teams are left in the fight? I am not an analyst but I do pay attention to other teams and how they play against us. All the other remaining teams have not boosted their rosters to merit a better ranking...including ourselves but since I'm biased, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. My Clippers have filled the cracks for this coming season fairly well so my guess is they have not lost a step nor have they moved up a step. They don't have to be considered "improved" to have a shot at the play-offs , they just have to stay above water and at the pace of last year to have a shot. With the mediocre teams left fighting for the 2 last spots, how can anyone say we don't stand a chance.

If we look at the big picture, EB is the only Question mark or doubt , that may make any Clipper fan cringe at our chances of making the play-offs but aside from the leadership, we will be out 20 points and 9 rebounds a game. It sounds heartless but that is the reality of it. Doe's anyone think our other guys can't make up for it? Knight is well capable of exceeding Livingston's #'s. At this point, they have virtually the exact #'s according to last season's averages. What Knight brings as a bonus is his years in the league. I know what your thinking...he is injury prone. I agree but isn't Livingston also injury prone? So what is the difference if Livingston or Knight are on the court....loyalty. Well, loyalty will not help us win right now so I beg to argue that Knight is better for the team right now.

I hate to admit this but it baffles me when fans are so eager to write this team off. It bothers me that they are willing to give up because of one man's injury. One man doesn't win games! One man is not a team. This team is not about super stars it's about hard working players and team work. We are not the lakers and god hope we don't put all our eggs in one basket like they did with Kobe. Brand is not Kobe. Clippers don't depend on Brand like the Lakers depend on Kobe. So for someone to say that all is lost, they haven't been watching the Clippers like I have. I hope I've made

some sense of this because I just spent part of my holiday writing this....Happy Labor Day Clipper fans!

david
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Nice thorough analysis CJ- repped! I agree with who's definitely in and who are the bubble teams. Personally I'm definitely not writing the Clippers off. I think they have shot at the playoffs, but I wouldn't be terribly disappointed if they missed it by a few games either. Other guys can fill in for EB but the reality is when you lose your MVP it's really tough- it's kind of like if you take Duncan from the Spurs, Nash from the Suns, or Dirk from the Mavs- the team would become significantly weaker. But .500 is definitely a realistic goal, and this veteran squad may well get it done. What a contrast between this team and let's say the team of 2002-2003 huh? Back then we were one of the youngest teams and now we're a team filled with battle-tested vets.

jlemmen43
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Here's what I think about some of the Western teams:

Deron Williams is a good rising star at PG. He'll hold down the fort with the Jazz. They can be dangerous. I also think New Orleans will be better than last year because of Chris Paul's return. They may be the last team to make the playoffs. Never count out a team with Kobe on it. He does take a lot of shots, but usually he makes a lot of them (and he's pretty good in the clutch). With a healthy team and a much better (although a rookie) PG in Javaris Crittenton...the Lakers will surprise some teams I think. The Nuggets are as good as Carmelo & Iverson's supporting cast is at letting them two play and filling in the blanks for them. The Rockets are still pretty good. The Suns & Mavs need to play defense before they can win a ring. San Antonio just has to keep hungry and they'll do fine. I totally agree with your "not gonna make it" teams. I'd throw in Memphis to that list also. They have some talent, but it's gonna take a few years yet.

I think the Clippers fans can realistically expect a 7th or 8th seed in the playoffs. S.A., Dallas, Pheonix, Houston & Utah I think are locks...the remaining 3 i think will be us, the Lakers and the Hornets. I think G.S. will find it tougher this year than last.

TD
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Agree, but with some modifications

In 1. SPURS 2. MAVS 3. SUNS 4. JAZZ 5. NUGGETS 6. ROCKETS

Bubble 7. LAKERS 8. WARRIERS


  1. CLIPS
  2. GRIZ
  3. HORNETS

Out 12. KINGS 13. BLAZERS 14. SONICS 15. T-WOLVES

Teams 1-6 clearly have more talent. I think teams 7-11 are so close it will come down to coaching. I put them in order of coaches ability. (Sorry Mike, but Jackson & Nellie are better)

clipper*joe
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Just in case you haven't heard, Nellie hasn't agreed to coach the team and he just flew back to Hawaii (his home) after talks ended. It has also been rumored that Van Gundy might coach the team if Nellie doesn't come to an agreement with the team. If this falls through, I guess that knocks the Warriors out of contention based on your assessment. The Lakers have too much problems within the organization. Kobe's childish antics have effected the front office and the players. The rumored trades of Odom,Bynum, and Brown could also effect the enthusiasm and chemistry to play. The injuries to Brown & Odom might still effect their play. Mihm hasn't played in over a year...what can he do? The only upside is the signing of Fisher and his knowledge of the triangle offense but how much can this veteran do to make up for all thats gone wrong with this team. Oh, by the way, Phil Jackson just called out Buss JR. in regards to the lack of improving the team...this will sit well with Buss senior. I can't figure how you can put the Lakers at #7. Please don't say that it is the Kobe factor because the team played better when he took less shots. The hornets haven't improved the team. Sure Chris Paul was out for 18 games last season but if you claim that is the reason they didn't make the play-offs I would answer the team is weak to rely so much on one guy. You might also say that Stojakovic was out most of the season and I would readily answer that he hasn't played a full season for 3 years due to back problems. He will never be the same as he was during the Sac Kings years. Aside from Paul and Tyson Chandler who makes this team a contender? By the way, how can you say that Nellie is better than Dunleavy? If you put their careers next to each other I will buy it but if you look at their last 2 seasons , I think your wrong. Nellie has only 42 wins each of the last 2 seasons coaching. Remember that Nellie only made the play-offs because the Clippers dropped the ball. Dunleavy didn't lose the final play-off spot to the Warriors during the last stretch of the season and Nellie didn't coach his way to the final spot. It was bad play by the Clippers and a hot streak by the Warriors. Nellie is a free spirited coach that let's his players run a muck. Sure , Nellie is a better coach. Phil Jackson has been on a coaching slump the last 2 years. He recorded his worst coaching season all time with 42 wins just last season. The guy has lost his touch. In fact, ever since his bread and butter left (Shaq), it has been down hill ever since. I hate to tell you this but according to the records, all 3 coaches have almost identical wins during the last 2 seasons combined. I didn't want to be the bearer of bad news but those are the facts. By the way, I am not saying the Clippers will make the play-offs, I'm just saying they have as much of a chance at the 7 & 8 spot as the other lower bracket teams.

clippersblue
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I think the Lakers will be a surprise if they stay healthy. If you remember last lyear, for the first 30 games they were almost unstoppable. Bringing Fisher back, somebody who knows the triangle will have an immediate impact. So I disagree that they will fall to 7. I think they could end up in the top five. They have a deep front line, and the best player in the game.

I am a clipper fan so I am not being biased. I think our team has a good chance to make the playoffs and go far only if Maggette and Kaman emerge as allstars. We have a deep team. Otherwise, were done. The good news is that I think Kaman now being the number 2 option can average 22 and Maggette being the number 1 can average over 26 points. Dunlevy must restructure the offence around these two players.

bill
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don nelson will stay with golden state

toohipcliptoslip
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As usual, great posts Joe. Pretty much in agreement. As far as coaches go, Jackson isn't in a slump. He's doing fab. considering he has to deal with the Great #8 and his narcissim. Most coaches would never have made the PO's. As everyone else thinks 7,8,9 battle LAC GSW LAL. The only plus for LAL is Fisher. He knows how it feels to be a champ and he can be a great counterbalance against you-know-who. LAL's gain is greater than Utah's loss.Otherwise no improvement. How's Lamar's shoulder?

GSW. The punch you don't see is the one that KO's you. Everyone now knows they're a serious team and everyone will be gunning. Find a way to slow down Davis (good luck). and they've got problems. Austin C. Why?

LAC. We should have made the PO's the last 2 yrs without a bonafide superstar. (sorry EB you're my dawg but). Most elite teams have two. (Give us Duncan or TMac plus EB).. Guys I'm not dissing EB, I'm saying we succeded as a TEAM. We have more talent than 2 yrs ago including a second defensive stopper. During EB's vacation someone/ones will step up. We've discussed who he/they will be but it will happen. Starting in Jan-Feb we will be a feared team.

7 LAC

8 GSW

9 LAL

ps Joe my man. I said in a previous post thst EB could be 25/10 not was. If so there's your bonafide SS. Good teams make great players shine.

bill
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clippers will be #6

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