Sunday, September 1, 2013

2013 Offseason winners: Los Angeles Clippers

Every year I select seven NBA teams that I believe will make a leap from the previous season in some way. It could simply mean more wins, but it could just as well signify increased playoff run positioning or a even jump to contender status. Sometimes I am right, other times I am horribly, horribly wrong. 

My 2013 Offseason winners are:

Los Angeles Clippers
Let's get it on.

Los Angeles Clippers bring in championship coach Doc Rivers, Darren Collison, JJ Redick, Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes, Ryan Hollins and Chris Paul

2012-2013 record: 56-26

The Clippers kept their Lob City core intact by inking point guard Chris Paul to a handsome $107 million contract. He will be throwing alley-oops to Step Brothers Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, the trio will now receive smart coaching by Doc Rivers, whom the team acquired from the Celtics to replace lame duck coach Vinny Del Negro.

Crossover King Jamal Crawford, who averaged 16.5 PPG as the team's sixth man last year, enters his second season with LA. Shooter Willie Green, resident tough guy Matt Barnes (re-signed), safety valve center Ryan Hollins (re-signed) and guard Maalik Wayns also remain on the roster from last year. 

Eric Bledsoe and elder statesmen Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler and Lamar Odom ($21.9 million in 2012-2013) were replaced with Paul's former New Orleans understudy Darren Collison, shooter J.J. Redick, 3-and-D wing Jared Dudley, combo forward Antawn Jamison and big man Byron Mullens. The quintet combined for 157 starts, 4,209 points and 9,985 minutes played in 2012-2013. They will cost the Clippers a grand total of $14.5 million. Swingman Reggie Bullock (the No. 25 pick in the NBA Draft) probably won't contribute much.

2013-2014 prediction:

The Clippers A) keep their franchise point guard, B) add a top-tier coach whom their franchise guy respects, and C) swap an old and expensive bench for a young and cheap one. There is no reason for them to lose in the First Round of the NBA Playoffs this year.

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