What's on the Menu? "mmmmmm . . . Basketball!!!!"

Monday, January 7, 2013

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for November: 8. Los Angeles Clippers

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of November 30th):  9-6,  tied first place Pacific Division

This Month:

Team Statistics and League Rank (as of November 30th)

  • Points Scored: 99.6 (11th)
  • Points Allowed: 94.8 (8th)
  • Team FG%: .475 (4th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .431 (4th)
  • Rebounds per game: 41.0 (21st)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 39.6 (3rd)
  • Turnovers per game: 16.8 (28th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 17.8 (2nd)

Individual Statistical Leaders (as of November 30th

Worst Player of the Month: Lamar Odom

It is so hard to believe that this guy won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award two years ago and had also played in the 2012 Olympic games.  Many hoped that Last season's regrettable performance in Dallas was just a mere anomaly and that once back in LA, Lamar will return to his previous form; unfortunately, that has not happened.  Lamar entered the season bringing the same baggage as he continued to disappoint in November hitting new low averaging just 1.6 points per game while shooting .272 from the field.  The biggest blow was that the Clippers believed so much in Odom, that they blew 8.3$ million to bring him back to the city where he was originally drafted.  Fortunately for LA, Odom's contract will expire at the end of the season thus resulting in no real loss and his poor play has not adversely affected the team in any way as the Clippers continue to remain in the win column.   

First Player of the Month:  Eric Bledsoe

It was well enough that the Clippers had an All Star point guard in Chris Paul running the show.  Now it looks as if the Clips also have another potential All Star floor general backing him up in Eric Bledsoe.  After a rather nondescript second season last year, Bledsoe has simply exploded this season coming off the bench averaging close to ten points and three assists per games in a little under 19 minutes per game.  His most impressive stat has to be his field goal percentage that has shot up to .486 while shooting .400 from beyond the arc.  If he continues such stellar play, Bledsoe might become tso good that the Clipper may not be able to afford to keep him once he becomes a free agent.   

After setting the league on fire last season going as far as the Western Conference Semi Finals, the Los Angeles Clippers looked to build on that success by bringing in a solid crew of veteran talent to bolster their second unit which was rather thin to say the least.  They swiped away swingman Matt Barnes from their dreaded rival Lakers, along with another former Laker who won two NBA Championships with the team in Lamar Odom as well.  They also managed to pick up a streaky yet dangerous veteran shooting guard Jamal Crawford and Willie Green, a veteran that has always made solid contributions wherever he has played.  Next LA found and excellent backup to their rising star of a center DeAndre Jordan by signing blue collar veteran workhorse Ronny Turiaf and rounded out an already strong roster by adding former NBA All Star Grant Hill and resigning former NBA Champion, Chauncey Billups, who missed of last season due to injury.  Altogether, the Clippers entered this season with the deepest and strongest roster in the NBA.

Unfortunately, despite having such a strong roster, the Clippers have yet to show that they can be considered as a championship contender, let alone good enough to reach the Finals.  Sure, they finished the month of November with a respectable 9-6 record earning them first place in their Pacific Division, but they were far from looking dominant.  For starters, the Clippers did not finish November completely owning the division as they finished November sharing first place with of all teams, the Golden State Warriors.  Add the fact that their one time arch nemesis Los Angeles Lakers had stumbled throughout much of the season, the Pacific Division lost much of its teeth as it no longer as strong as it once was.  Even with them in first place, LA in no way rivaled their Western Conference contemporaries as they were not even close to the records of the top three teams--the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies.

In fact much of the Clippers success mainly came from not so much their own efforts, but from the misfortunes of others.  As mentioned before, their dreaded foe who had kept them under their sneakers for so long, the Los Angeles Lakers, had become a shadow of their former selves, plus the teams behind them have not proven to be much of a threat either.  The Phoenix Suns have thus far allowed their opponents to just have their way with them on the defensive end while the Sacramento Kings have remained thus far as one of the league longest punchlines.  Even their moniker "Lob City" has lost much of its luster as the two primary catalysts of the Clippers high flying acrobatic offense.  Blake Griffin has not nearly looked as dominant nor spectacular as he did last season, nor has Chris Paul as their offensive numbers have both dropped from last season.

Shockingly, the Clippers whom has thus far had the biggest impact one the offensive end is one that comes off the bench as Jamal Crawford, who has started the season coming off the bench as the team's sixth man, has lead the Clippers in scoring thus far.  So far the season has been a complete letdown for fans who were expecting to see their once doormat of a team rise to the upper echelons of the league.  Unfortunately that has yet to happen as the Clippers look as if they will remain a middle of the road team that will only be able to go so far and it does not seem to change anytime soon.  So far, the Clippers have shown that they are just a good, but not great team and will probably not get any better than they already have been.  All the excitement and anticipation has fallen rather flat as the Clippers finished the month of November with neither excitment or disappointment as their finish left little to be desired.

Unless they make a major run in the upcoming months, the Clippers will just remain a run of the mill middle of the road team.  They will really have to impress in order to prove to their fans and the world that they are more than just a good team playing in a bad division.  It will certainly take a lot for them to prove that they have the goods--short of winning every single one of their games in December, the Clipper will never be able to prove that they belong among the upper echelons of the league.  And the likelihood of them winning 16 straight games ranges from slim to none as they will most likely continue winning at the same pace, which is by no means bad, but it is by no means great either.  To actually even think that the Clippers can even pull off such a feat is laughable--after all, these are the Clippers we are talking about and as history has shown, it is not worth the energy to raise any expectations for this team.