The 2009-10 season for Clipper Nation was one to bury deep in the depths of forgotten memories, where most seasons for the Clips consider home. The team went a disappointing 29-53 during last year’s campaign, and once again was an NBA wasteland as the team was in the lower half of the NBA’s attendance. Although we all expect mediocrity and a trip to the Lottery in June, this year will be different. This year, the Clippers will make some noise in the West and bid for a playoff berth.
The Clippers have many of the same faces coming back from last season, but the offseason additions will prove to make a huge difference in the win-loss column. Vital pieces have been added in vital areas. First, let’s start off with the coaching change, as Mike Dunleavy is out and Del Negro is in. While Dunleavy had some success with the Clips in the past, leading them to the playoffs in 2006, Del Negro will provide a new culture and new energy for the players who had not seen success under the previous regime. After leading a very young Bulls team to a near upset of the Celtics in 2009, he can do something similar with this young Clipper team.
The Clippers did not make the big splash in free agency as they may have wanted, but they did add some good pieces. The team signed Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes, two players who will provide depth and key minutes off the bench. The Draft was also successful as the Clips added Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Bledsoe and Willie Warren. Warren and Bledsoe are young, athletic guards who can push the tempo and provide quality minutes their first year as spark plugs. Aminu is seen as the forward of the future. He is a lengthy and athletic wing that can slash, finish, rebound and has the potential to be an excellent defender. All of these players will comprise a solid supporting cast, capable of not only giving the starters rest, but also exploding on teams and being the reason for Clipper victories
The last and most important addition is not an acquisition at all, rather the return of No. 1 pick Blake Griffin. Griffin is not your ordinary rookie, as he has had a year of adjusting to the lifestyle of an NBA player – usually the hardest transition for a young athlete. Now he’ll have to prove his worth on the court, where he will be dominate from Day 1 and provide the Clippers with star power they so desperately need to improve their offense, rebounding and overall excitement around the team. He and Chris Kaman will grow to be one of the best frontcourts in the League.
With the returning talent of Baron Davis, Eric Gordon (who has been playing well this summer with Team USA) and DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers have everything a good team needs; the question is can they play up to their potential? Personally, I believe they will, potentially not even making a trip to the Lottery next June.
What do you think?
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