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Los Angeles Clippers 2015 Season Preview
Posted By: Chris Ransom on 8/27/2015
Chris Paul posted 19.1 points per game for the second year in a row at point guard. Paul also posted 10.2 assists per game after posting 10.7 points per game in 2013-2014. Austin Rivers was a scrub in New Orleans, but being Chris Paul's backup and being coached by his dad Doc Rivers allowed Austin to blossom in Paul's absence during the 2015 NBA Playoffs.
Shooting guard J.J. Reddick averaged 16.4 points per game. Los Angeles also added Lance Stephenson as a backup after he was a starting shooting guard for the Charlotte Hornets. Stephenson will do better as a backup to Reddick in Los Angeles.
Paul Pierce will be starting at small forward. Pierce averaged 11.9 points per game, 4 rebounds per game, and 2 assists per game in 2014-2015 with the Washington Wizards. Pierce helped Doc Rivers win an NBA Championship in Boston. Now Pierce will be splitting time with Jamal Crawford who averaged 15.8 points per game as a backup small forward after previously starting at shooting guard.
Power forward Blake Griffin scored 24.1 points per game and posted 9.5 rebounds per game in 2013-2014. Griffin averaged 21.9 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game in 2014-2015. Griffin looks really good with the supporting cast he currently has. You cannot blame Griffin for regressing since he had a better starting five to work with.
Point guard Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA because he posts double-double like numbers. Paul posted 19.1 points per game and 10.7 assists per game. Paul and Griffin will continue to be the building blocks of a Clippers squad head coached by Doc Rivers.
DeAndre Jordan remains the starting center. Jordan averaged 11.5 points per game and 15 rebounds per game in 2014-2015. Jordan nearly went to Dallas before the Clippers re-signed him. Spencer Hawes was Jordan's backup last year. Hawes is gone and now Cole Aldrich will take on the role of Jordan's backup at center.
The Clippers didn't have a small forward last year. The team added Paul Pierce and has backups and starters at each of the key positions. It's understandable if the Clippers do not make the NBA Finals. It is unacceptable for the Clippers if they do not make the Western Conference Finals. The organization has invested too many resources into giving Doc Rivers a quality lineup to work with.
You could argue that there is more depth on this team then there was on the 2008 Boston Celtics team. There are no more excuses for Doc Rivers and company from this point forward. It's make the Western Conference Finals in 2016 or bust for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Los Angeles Clippers 2015-2016 Starting 5 Predictions
Our starting 5 predictions segment will feature a brief one paragraph prediction from 5 of our basketball analysts at Draft Utopia.
Chris Ransom: I got the Clippers beating the Lakers and Thunder in the first two rounds of the 2016 NBA Playoffs. The Clippers will finally reach the Western Conference Finals. San Antonio or Golden State will keep the Clippers from a Championship.
Jesse Lucas: Believe it or not, I got the Clippers winning the Western Conference if they can get by San Antonio or Golden State. I think the Clippers will face the Thunder for the Western Conference, and I like the Clippers in 7 games in that series.
Lisa Donovan: The Clippers will make the Western Conference Finals. I got the Clippers losing to the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals. The Clippers have to beat Houston before they can claim this conference.
Brian Bayless: The Clippers lose to 5 seed Houston Rockets in 7 games of the opening round. Doc Rivers once again gets defeated by the Houston Rockets.
Dax Ember: The Clippers will get the 1 seed in the Western Conference. I also got Golden State getting the 4 seed only to defeat the Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Verdict: The Los Clippers will win a playoff series. There is no question that this is a top 4 team in the Western Conference. Odds are the Clippers will make the Western Conference Finals and finally take that next step towards becoming a Championship caliber team. Somebody in the Western Conference will keep the Clippers from winning the Western Conference.
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