Sunday, July 6, 2008

Here come the Clippstars!

Boom Dizzle: Bringing some style to the Clippers

So it's that time of year again. The championship has been decided. The draft is over. The new season doesn't start for a good 4 months.

Remarkably, there is still plenty to talk about: for one, Baron Davis is a Clipper. I've already made this transaction in NBA 2K8, and, presuming Elton Brand stays, the Clippers are now an incredibly fun team to play with. One can only assume they will be as fun to watch. But will they get anywhere out west? Most people are saying they'll make the play-offs, but probably not achieve much else.

Me? I'm more positive on their potential. I believe they can certainly make some noise in the play-offs. The inside-outside duo of EB and Boom Dizzle will cause many headaches: most people agree this much. However, after finishing 23-59 last year, many do not rate the rest of the Clippers roster. This puzzles me. How short is their memory? The squad is not much different to that which pushed Pheonix to 7 games in the classic Western Conference Semis in 05/06. Sam Cassell and Vladimir Radmanovic are gone, and Maggette looks likely to leave, but otherwise you have Brand, Chris Kaman, Cat Mobley, Shaun Livingston and Quinton Ross who all have experience playing high-intensity play-off games together. Throw in Al Thornton, who looks like atleast a solid starter in this league, Eric Gordon (who could be hit or miss for my money) and Davis and how can you say they won't make any noise in the play-offs? (I should probably mention Tim Thomas is there too...although this is deservedly an afterthought)

40 wins in 06/07 and 23 last season. OK...let's not judge these win totals fully. In 06/07 the Clippers admittedly could have played better. But they were also hit by some injuries. Often they were essentially without a point guard, with Cassell and Livingston injured. And last season? Calling out the Clippers for that win total last year is incredibly harsh in my opinion. Injury-wise, it was a nightmare. Their franchise player (Brand) was out for the whole year. Their other big man, just-turned-German Chris Kaman, showed great improvement until he too missed most of the second half of the season due to injury. Let's also not forget that Livingston missed the whole season too. The Clippers just could not develop a reliable rotation thanks to the horrible run of injuries. Only one player started more than 60 games for the franchise...that was Maggette, and even he only started 65. The player who appeared in the most games for Clips was Thornton, their rookie. With all this in mind, how can you judge that season? Quite simply you cannot.

So how will their roster look next year? Assuming DeAndre Jordan plays in the D-League, Maggette leaves and noting that Dan Dickau, Paul Davis and Smush Parker have not been offered new contracts, it will look something like this (a "u" indicates the player is an unrestricted free agent, and "r" indicates he is a restricted free agent, so all this may obviously change rendering this article pointless):

PG - Baron Davis
SG - Cat Mobley
SF - Al Thornton
PF - Elton Brand (u)
C - Chris Kaman
Bench - Quinton Ross (u), Shaun Livingston (u), Eric Gordon, Tim Thomas, Nick Fazekas (r), Brevin Knight, Josh Powell, Marcus Williams (r)

The Clippers should perhaps look for a veteran wing or big on the free agent market to complete their roster.

Look at that team...not bad at all. Consider these guys a threat in 2009 play-offs!

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