Tag Archives: Los Angeles Clippers

Fast Break

A couple of quick hoopservations as we move past the 1/4 benchmark of the season:

1.  Kobe Bryant has had an incredible, and quite unique, career.  He was the second star on a team that won 3 championships, and, since Shaq left, has also been the top dog on multiple championship teams.  How many guys can say that they were the second-best guy on multiple championship teams, and then stepped up to be the top guy on multiple championship teams?  I guess Magic did (he won as part of “Kareem’s team,” and, by the last of his championships, the Lakers were undoubtedly “his team”). Nobody else jumps to mind.

In order to rank Kobe amongst the all-time greats, one first has to decide whether they consider it more impressive to (i) make that transition, or (ii) be the top dog for an entire career.

2.  Chicago’s team is very WatchaBull.  (Sorry, I had to.)  And very good. I’m not saying they’ll win the title, or even the East, but that team is constructed the way I’ve been talking about constructing a team.  Their best player is a superstar, their second best player is one of the best “second” players in the league, and Joakim Noah might have more hair than anyone else in the United States be the best “third” player in the league. Plus, they generally fill traditional basketball roles. Boozer and Noah roam the paint on offense, and, on defense, they protect the rim and own the glass. Korver is one of the best spot-up shooters around, and is able to take advantage when defenses sag to guard his teammates. The big question is whether Rose is enough like a traditional point guard to pull it all together.

3. The Mavericks have won 12 of their last 13 games. Should we care? I dunno. Seems to me like the the Mavs go on this kind of streak every season, and inevitably fizzle somewhere along the way. Dirk is filthy good, and I hear that they’re playing some D for a change, but I’m not seeing a reason to think this Dallas team is the one that breaks through. They’re like the Chargers of the NBA. Consider me a doubter until they get it done.

4. The Clippers are now losing very close games, as opposed to losing big, as they are used to doing. You know what they say about moral victories: There’s no such thing as moral victories… unless you’re the Clippers. Joking aside, I stand by my prediction that those guys will be a threat when Kaman comes back. I just hope they’re not so far out of it by then that he doesn’t make a difference.

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Season Predictions – Part 3 of 3

Before crunching the numbers on the teams in the Western Conference, a few specific predictions and storylines to keep an eye on:

1.              If Chris Kaman returns soon for the Clippers, who are currently 2-13, the Clips will make a run at the playoffs.  Not that I think Chris Kaman is some kind of superstar, but he’s a real C, and, as I’ve blogged before, teams that play a real C have a big advantage.  (Even the Clippers.)  Put Kaman with Blake Griffin, and you’re looking at a squad that will have the advantage in the paint against all but the best teams in the league.  That matters, and will start to show up in the win column when Kaman comes back.  Let’s hope that guy comes back soon, because the people who keep the standings for the NBA might stop publishing a win column in the Clippers’ row if he doesn’t.

2.              Aside  from the superstars, the most important player out West is Richard Jefferson.  If that guy keeps ballin’ like he’s ballin’ then the Spurs will be in the mix until the very end.

3.              I know that Steve Nash is immensely popular in Phoenix, but it just doesn’t make sense for an aging PG who is as good as he is to remain on a team that’s going nowhere.  Hopefully one of the teams that’s a PG away from seriously contending (Memphis, Atlanta, Charlotte, and the Clippers come to mind) will find a couple of young assets to trade to Phoenix in order to grab Nash and make a run.  Unless it’s the Heat, in which case my head might spin off of my neck as I try to decide whether or not to root for that team.

4.              In making these predictions, I’m grading the Nuggets as if they will keep Carmelo, even though I expect them not to.  It’s not that I have any inside info, it’s just that I can’t see Denver risking losing him for nothing after what just happened to Cleveland and Toronto.

5.              As I type this, there are a bunch of major injuries that will have a big impact on the standings.  David Lee is a difference maker for the Warriors.  And Brandon Roy for the Blazers. Robin Lopez is also out, apparently for a month.  That makes it tough to get a read on some teams, but if I waited any longer, I’d have to call these “reflections” instead of “predictions.”

So, while I can still call them predictions, here they are (in the case of ties, I put the teams in the order that I expect them to finish).


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