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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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    02/21/2020 8:58 PM

2013/14 NBA Team Preview: Los Angeles Clippers

Season Review 2012/13:

 

Advanced Stats

 

Numbers

Rank

Pace

91.1

19

Offense

110.6

4

Defense

103.6

8

Rebound

51.2

7

 

4 Factors

Offense

Numbers

Rank

Defense

Numbers

Rank

eFG%

52.6

4

eFG%

49.2

12

TO%

13.9

18

TO%

15.4

1

Reb%

28.8

8

Reb%

26.5

15

FT%

20.3

15

FT%

22.9

29

 

Monthly Performance

 

Record

OffRtg

DefRtg

November

 9-6

109.2

103.8

December

 16-0

115.8

98.9

January

 9-7

109.0

106.0

February

 8-5

109.1

107.0

March

 7-7

113.4

110.9

April

 7-1

120.4

107.0

 If it wasn’t for the fact that the Clippers got eliminated immediately on the first round of the playoffs against the Grizzlies by losing the last four games of the series and we would be talking of the amazing regular season that the Clippers had last season. 

They had a franchise-high 56 regular season wins, while easily winning the Pacific Division with an elite offense. Any team that has Chris Paul will always be a top offensive team and the Clippers were indeed #4 in the league on offensive efficiency. 

The Clippers had in their second unit a deadly weapon throughout the season and that helped them into becoming an elite team. Their style was quite unique as they didn’t run many plays on half court. They would simply be ultra aggressive on the defensive end, looking to create turnovers and then they would simply run over their opponents with quick transition plays. This was the main reason why the Clippers were the best team in the league in forcing turnovers on their opponents.

They had a perfect month of December with a 16-0 record, while winning their games by more than 15 points per game, with their defense being simply outstanding during this span. On four games in a row, the Clippers held their opponents to 76, 77, 85 and 77 points! However, the Clippers couldn’t keep this level during the second half of the season by having a subpar 18-17 record between the end of January and the start of April. This was caused by a clear decline on defense that couldn’t sustain their good level from the start of the season. 

Several players had excellent seasons besides Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Eric Bledsoe was a nightmare matchup for the opposing backcourts due to his aggressiveness. Jamal Crawford provided instant offense while coming off the bench. Matt Barnes was also superb in both ends of the floor on 25 minutes per game. 

The player that disappointed the team the most was DeAndre Jordan due to his inability to score free throws that quickly started to be explored by the opposing coaches to hack him late in the game, something that forced Coach Vinny Del Negro to bench him down the stretch. 

In the playoffs, it looked like the Clippers were going to advance on their series against the Grizzlies in the first round after the winning the first two games of the series. However, the Clippers lost four games in a row after those wins the bad indications of their “poor” defense left on the second half of the season was quite clear in those losses, as the offensively challenged Grizzlies averaged 105 points in those four games! The most impressive memory of this series was the Clippers’ frontcourt getting completely outplayed by Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

 

Offseason Report: 

The franchise’s weakest link since Chris Paul joined the team has always been Vinny Del Negro, who has been criticized since he came to LA. Del Negro didn’t do a terrible job in Chicago, but when Coach Tom Thibodeau joined the Bulls, he put Chicago into the elite with the same core of players that Del Negro had, something that ruined Del Negro’s coaching reputation. The positive part of the past season was that Del Negro managed the team’s deep roster quite well, full of players who wanted more playing time, but who got convinced not to protest on the media by their coach. 

With Del Negro leaving the team on the off season, we watched a soap opera involving Coach Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and other “actors”. Finally, after a lot of rumors, Doc Rivers indeed signed with the Clippers to be their new Head Coach. 

Last season the Clippers had one of the best rosters in the league, full of quality options on the bench, something that new GM Gary Sacks wanted to have this season as well. 

Eric Bledsoe leaving was pretty much inevitable, as he would never had the minutes that he wanted with LA with Chris Paul on the team. Therefore, Bledsoe joined the Suns. To improve the backcourt, the Clippers signed Darren Collison and J.J. Redick on free agency. Jared Dudley was involved on the Bledsoe trade and landed in LA as well. 

For the frontcourt, the Clippers signed veteran Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens, something that doesn’t impress me one bit. 


Season Preview: 

Now that the Lakers don’t have conditions to be a top team anytime soon, the Clippers will be the Pacific’s Division powerhouse team this season. 

As long as Chris Paul is the team’s PG, the Clippers will continue being a top offensive team. Doc Rivers will now be his Head Coach and so, I expect the Clippers to be more creative on offense this season, especially down the stretch where Doc Rivers had a great reputation on being very efficient. Paul is coming from a “usual season” with 17 points per game, 9.7 assists per game and a league leading 2.4 steals per game. The only negative aspect that he had last season with a poor 32.8% 3pts, his worst mark since his rookie season. Darren Collison will be his backup and Collison will have the chance of having Paul as his mention, like it happened in New Orleans a few years ago. 

The acquisition of J.J. Redick went very under the radar on the offseason, but he might be the team’s key piece this season, as he is a good offensive player who knows how to move off the ball between screens, something that will be very important on the team’s offense. I wouldn’t be surprised if Redick gets similar plays to the ones that Ray Allen used to receive in Boston. With Chris Paul and then Jamal Crawford demanding the ball on their hands to be effective, having a player like Redick on the team is something very important for the Clippers. 

It seems like Matt Barnes found a home in LA by renewing with the Clippers for three seasons. He was a very valuable player last season, while being even quite efficient on offense with 46.2% FG! With Caron Butler gone, Jared Dudley will be the team’s starter at the SF position and he is an underrated smart player. His athleticism is quite poor, but his good basketball IQ allows him to compensate that with successive good decisions. He has been a very consistent shooter as well, with 47% FG, 39% 3pts and 80% FT last season! Therefore, Barnes and Dudley will share minutes at the SF position on a quite competent way. 

Blake Griffin has been considered as one of the most overrated players in the league, but we are in front of a 24 years old player, so it’s early to make this kind of critics. After suffering a serious injury on his first NBA season, he missed just two regular season games over the last three seasons, on a clear sign of his great durability. His numbers last season were down when compared with the previous season, but he also played “just” 32.5 minutes per game, while he had played 38.0 and 36.2 minutes per game on his first two NBA seasons. 

In my opinion, there are factors that I have to mention regarding Blake: one positive and one negative. The positive is that he had a 66% FT mark last season, something quite positive in comparison with the poor 52% FT on the previous season. The negative factor is that Blake had just 5.5 shots at the rim per game last season, while he had averaged 7.3 and 7.2 shots at the rim on his first two seasons. This shows that he played further from the basket last season. Let’s see how he improves under Doc Rivers. 

If Blake Griffin improved a lot on free throw shooting, what can we say about DeAndre Jordan? It’s impossible on a league like the NBA a professional player to shoot 38.6% FT! It’s ridiculous! This completely limits the work of a coach down the stretch and then, it’s easy to understand why a player who gets 10M per year can’t even stay 25 minutes per game on court. It will be vital for Jordan to improve his FT numbers in order to play more, as the frontcourt’s depth is the team’s weakest link for the new season. 

If Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph outplayed the Clippers’ frontcourt last season, this won’t certainly be different this season with the Clippers having Antawn Jamison, Byron Mullens and Ryan Hollins on the bench. The only way for the LA team to avoid getting outmuscled by powerful teams this season is via improvements from Jordan and Griffin. 

We are in front of a team that will easily get home court advantage on the first round of playoffs, saving for a serious injury on a key player. Doc Rivers is an elite coach and he will have a good roster to manage, so I believe this combination will give them some great results on the regular season. But the key question is that the Clippers won’t be satisfied with just going to the playoffs. They want more, but that depends from their starting frontcourt evolution. 

My name is André Gomes, I’m from Portugal and I am a Professional Handicapper. My sole purpose is to constantly beat the sportsbooks by taking advantage of the evaluation errors they make. It is most... Read more

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