Are the Clippers Championship Contenders?
The Clippers are playing very well right now with a 14-4 record. They started off the season at 14-2 blowing teams out and looking like a super team. They’ve lost their last two games, but I think this team can challenge the Spurs and Warriors in the West.
Blake Griffin is slowly getting back to 100%, Deandre Jordan is still growing into a great defensive player and rebounder, and they still have the “Point God” on their team, Chris Paul. Not only that, they have scary shooters like JJ Redick, who is averaging 15 points a game, Jamal Crawford, the former 6th man of the year, who can come in the game in drop 40 any night, and Austin Rivers a young hard point guard. Top it off with proven veterans like Paul Pierce, Marreese Speights, Brandon Bass, and Raymond Felton. This team is scary and can beat anybody if they keep playing together.
The thing about the Clippers is that yes this team has been the same for three years but things have went wrong. Think back to last year, they were playing the Blazers in the first round. They were actually up in the series, but Chris Paul ended up getting hurt. Blake Griffin was involved in an incident where he hurt his hand late in the season. He was out for a long time and the Clippers needed him late in the season. He ended up coming back in the postseason, but only played until Game 4 in the first round after a quad injury.
The year before that, we all know the infamous 3-1 lead over the Rockets in the Western Semifinals. The Clippers ended up losing the next three games in that series, blowing a 21 point lead in Game 6. I know they say the past is behind us but something tells me this Clipper team might be a little hungry for more this year. They have a good starting line-up, one of the best(if not the best) bench in the league, and a proven championship winning head coach (Doc Rivers). This team has grown up a little, and don’t think the Spurs and Warriors are gonna run over them. Chris Paul is hungry and I know he wants a ring. He is a future hall of famer, but Chris Paul needs to add more to his resume (a ring). He can’t do it by himself though. He’ll need help from his center, Deandre, whom I think can take this team to a higher level. Jordan has definitely improved within the last two years. I give props to Chris Paul, who has given him great passes in the lane and just simply demanded more from Jordan. He knows how great he can be which is why this Clippers team is a threat in the West. The roster is deep, coaching is good, and the players are back healthy. The only thing that can stop the Clippers is the Clippers.
Erion Jordan covers the NB for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @ErionJ4595