**With the NBA starting their season next week, I figured I'd roll a couple of NBA previews your way. Today, the people at www.talkhoops.net gave me the Los Angeles Clippers featuring my boy Baron Davis, enjoy!**
Los Angeles Clippers 07-08 Recap:
Where do you begin with the LA Clippers? After coming off 2 consecutive 40+ win seasons (remember this is the Clippers, that is great for them!) they came back to Earth with a gut-wrenching 23 win season. This was a team of off-parts and missing pieces. Elton Brand was gone for the season, as was Shaun Livingston after his horrifying injury (if you haven't seen it, just type in Shaun Livingston Leg or Shaun Livingston + Limbs Can't Seem to stay on body on youtube, trust me you'll find it), Maggette and Kaman both missed 10+ games last year as well. Otherwise, they were pretty much healthy. They did have some bright spots, Al Thornton proved to be a worthy selection for the Clips and has entrenched himself into the starting lineup. Kaman showed he has at least one post move and put up strong double-digit numbers last season. Maggette led the team with 22 ppg and led the league in getting to the foul line at almost 10 attempts per game.
Of course, you all have been paying attention. They made some major moves in the off-season, some by choice, some haphazardly, and some of the "WTF" variety. Lets get to the breakdown of your NEW AND IMPROVED LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS!!!
PG – Baron Davis Rating: 9
Baron Davis now has his ultimate wish and be like 2Pac, because he might truly "Live and Die in L.A." this season. On one hand, he brings some much needed star power to the franchise, but on the other hand, this is a perennially losing team. "Too Easy" can do it all, even movies, and he might have to to get this team to start winning. Otherwise, his knees might fall off, again.
SG – Cuttino Mobley Rating: 6.5
Any team can use a dead-eye shooter with great ball-handling skills. Even if he is 54 years old. Okay, maybe not, but he's keeping the seat warm for first round draft pick Eric Gordon. Eric, take notes, he's been doing it for a loooooooong time.
SF – Al Thornton Rating: 7.5
Thornton is the poster boy for David Stern, do 4 years in college and come shine in the NBA! He's doing just that, posterizing people one night, shutting down strong perimeter players the next night. If he works on that shot selection and stops being so gung-ho on shooting that 3, he could be a star in the making.
PF – Chris Kaman Rating: 8
With Camby joining him in the lineup, the Clippers will have their own set of twin towers. Kaman's offensive production will need to improve as Camby's only shooting long jumpers and dunks at this point. However, Chris is capable, regardless of what you might've saw him do with the German team in the Olympics. He said it's Dirk's fault.
C – Marcus Camby Rating: 8.5
Depending on how you feel, you're either high or low on Marcus Camby. I'll take the high road, as anyone who's won the defensive player of the year is a major add to a struggling defensive unit. Plus he's tough, they haven't had anyone tough on that team since Pooh Richardson. He'll have some frontline help from Kaman this year, could be tough down low on the Clips!
Bench: Rating: 7
A good mix of youth and (rambunctious) veteran talent on the bench, they should at the very least be interesting. Leading the bunch are the mercurial veterans Tim Thomas and Ricky Davis. Talent-wise, these two might be the best bench players in the NBA. However, whatever decides to happen between the ears is a different story, regardless I think a reduced role for both players is the best thing at this point, as they can also come in and start at any time. Eric Gordon joins the club from Indiana and if he continues to progress his game, he could be an integral part of an up and coming squad.
Al Thornton - Pre all-star break, Big Al was getting 10 and 4. Post all-star break, Big Al was getting 16 and 6. If he continues to figure it out then he could become the teams 2nd option in the offense. If the Clippers could get 18 and 6 from him this year along with the add of Baron and Camby, he could push the Clippers into the top 8 in the West.
Cuttino Mobley - Its time brother, you're 79 years old. Let it go.
Mike Dunleavy...you know what you're not a bad coach if you stay motivated. This is a team you could be motivated about, you've got about a 2-3 year window with Baron and Camby so go all in and play all your cards. Regardless, if you start doing horrible, then you will get fired. You knew it was coming.
Prediction: 48-34, 3rd in the Pacific
Since a prediction must be made with the parts that are in tact, I say if they stay healthy (WHICH IS BY FAR ONE OF THE BIGGEST IF's OF ALL TIME) then they probably could win at least 53-55 games. I'll be lenient and give them 48. Does that guarantee a playoff spot? In the West, you never know, but I think the Clippers fans will get a daily treat just by showing up to the arena every night. Lets go Clips!