30 Teams In 30 Days – #6 – Lob City Clippers

Chris Paul‘s debut season was one easily the greatest in the history of the pre-Lob City Clippers. Pre-Chris Paul, the Clippers were talented and seemingly on the right track, but the addition of CP3 has taken them to that next step.

Superstar-in-the-making Blake Griffin has some of the highlights of year last year and showed some overall amazing athletic ability. Right now, all that’s holding him back from being a top 10 player in the league is some questionable shooting and defensive ability that still leaves a little to be desired. Starting center DeAndre Jordan signed a big contract last off-season, but still remains just a slightly improved version of the same player he’s been most of his 4-year NBA career. His rebounding and block numbers are really nice, but his lack of scoring and lackluster free throw shooting limits his ability to be on the court in crunch time. Some NBA people are very high on the athletic and talented Jordan. I just have my concerns that he might be stagnating into more of a Keon Clark or Sam Dalembert than a mid-2000s Ben Wallace. Veteran Caron Butler proved in the playoffs what many people already knew – he’s the single toughest guy in the NBA. Playing with a legitimate broken hand in Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs, he was thought to be done for the season. Six days later, he was back for Game 3. He played 9 games in the playoffs with a broken hand. His skills and production may have eroded slightly from about 4-5 years ago, but his effort and toughness is certainly something every NBA team covets. The shooting guard is a little bit of a question mark for Lob City this year. After injury ended his season early last season, veteran Chauncey Billups resigned with the Lob City in what looks to be one last shot at another title. Given his advanced age (36), there has to be some serious questions around the Lob City offices about how quickly and how well he can come back from injury. If he can produce on the same level he did last season, though, he’s a bargain at only $4 million.

Should Billups falter, the newly signed veteran duo of Jamal Crawford and Grant Hill will likely have to pick up the slack. Crawford, just three seasons removed from winning 6th man of the year, had one of his worst seasons in Portland last season. One would think he should thrive this year hitting open shots created by Chris Paul, though. The fact that Grant Hill is still playing is amazing. From the age of 28-31 (general thought of as prime years), Hill played an average of 12 games per season. While in Phoenix for the last five seasons, he’s missed just an average of 6 games per season. Amazing. Despite his Duke roots, you can’t help but cheer Grant Hill. If you know how much I hate Duke, you know that those are words I’ve never spoken before. Third year guard Eric Bledsoe will give some added depth to the PG and SG positions, as well.

The biggest off-season acquisition, though, is no doubt Lamar Odom. After a strange year in Dallas, Odom is back in his adopted home of LA playing for the team that drafted him 13 years ago. I can’t emphasize enough how terrible he looked last season. Whether it is due to his unhappiness being traded, being out of shape after the lockout, declining skills as he is aging, or some combination of all of these things, we may never know. One thing is for certain, if Odom is anywhere near the form he showed with the Lakers, Lob City is going to be a team to watch for out West.

Biggest question mark

The biggest question long term is whether or not Chris Paul re-sign, but as it pertains to the season, the question that needs to be answered is which Lamar Odom did the Clippers trade for?

Predicted season scenario

I think Odom will be back to the Odom of old. CP3 will continue to thrive and the cast of veterans will lead the Clips to anywhere from a 2-4 seed.

Predicted Record: 55-27

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