Los Angeles Clippers Season Preview: Deeper into the Bench and the Playoffs

Team Capsule

Last year, the Clippers actually looked like a good team with the likes of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin with Nick Young, Mo Williams and Kenyon Martin coming off of the bench.

This year, they’re a whole new team. Their bench got a makeover, which is interesting. Last year, they were 40-26, and by the looks of it, the LA organization is not settling for the current set up they have. It seems almost as if they’re trying to take pressure off of Chris Paul.

Biggest strength: Depth

With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler in your starting lineup, it’s reasonable to believe that the bench players on your team would be sub par.  The Clippers are the anomaly.

Their bench is packed with Jamal Crawford, veteran Grant Hill, Lamar Odom (the Clippers are banking on him to rebound from his embarrassing season with the Mavericks) and Matt Barnes.

The  Clippers this season will have great depth and a high-octane offensive game.

Biggest weakness: Defense

I said in the last paragraph that the Clippers are a great offensive team. That, however, comes at the cost of defense. DeAndre Jordan and Lamar Odom have a big responsibility to help out Griffin defensively, and in all reality that probably won’t happen. Also, Eric Bledsoe and Chauncey Billups are fairly undersized at the shooting guard spot.

That’s also what happens when you add seasoned veterans like Grant Hill and Lamar Odom; you lose a lot of speed and ability to get back on defense quickly.

Player to Watch: Blake Griffin

Yeah. Crazy, how we all know how Blake Griffin rocks yet I still want you to keep an eye on him. Actually, it’s not that crazy. Although Griffin had a monster 2011-2012 campaign, his knee injury that kept him out of the Olympics is a big fat question mark. Watch to see whether or not that knee injury lingers.

2011-2012 Record: 40-26

Coach: Vinny Del Negro (154-158 career)

Key Additions: Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill

The additions of these veterans give the Clippers a lot more depth and skills, giving them a  better chance of advancing farther.

Key Subtractions: Mo Williams, Randy Foye, Nick Young, Kenyon Martin

The 2011-2012 Clippers top two shooting guards departed at the end of last season. Also, there were key bench players  that left too (Nick Young, Kenyon Martin). Out of all of these guys, the Clippers will probably miss Kenyon Martin the most, because of their lack of skills at power forward and center this year (other than Blake Griffin).

Team Trajectory: Rising

While a young team of starters continue to improve, the Clippers added veteran bench players to give the team more experience. The Clippers’ outlook this year is really good.

Projected Record: 52-30

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About Jameson Draper
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