The Los Angeles Clippers are sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference with a 10-8 record. Their winning percentage isn’t anything to write home about, but the entire West is incredibly muddled so far. The Clippers are in fine playoff position, and have the fourth-highest net rating in the conference. But according to one report, they aren’t satisfied.
After they successfully brought DeAndre Jordan back from the brink of signing with Dallas, they looked reloaded and ready to once again contend out West. Armed with instant leadership in the form of Paul Pierce, the same Josh Smith who caught fire for Houston and knocked L.A. out of the playoffs last year, and whatever the heck Lance Stephenson is at this point, they looked like a more talented version of a team that was a couple of breaks away from the Conference Finals last year. For whatever reason, they don’t look that way on the court.
Maybe it’s just the fact that the way past the Golden State Warriors looks more impossible than it ever has, and mere competence looks pointless in comparison. Maybe it’s the fact that Lance hasn’t shot any better, and Paul Pierce is joining him at the brick factory (but he’ll be fine for the playoffs, right?). But the Clippers don’t feel like they’ve distinguished themselves from the Jazz-Suns-Grizzlies-Mavericks pack as much as they should have, and they could very well be right. This is a team that should be deeper than the 56-win unit from last year, and yet they’re only 10-8.
Then again, the Thunder are only a game ahead of them at 11-7 in third place! The Clippers are right where they need to be, standings-wise. With a team full of veterans and big contracts, they have precious little maneuverability as is. It’s hard to imagine a trade they could pull off which would actually boost their chances to get past Golden State, slim as they may be. But if the Clippers franchise has taught us one thing over their history, it’s that we can’t discount the possibility of them doing something ill-advised.