2. Los Angeles Clippers- 40-26 (2011-12)
The Clippers will win 50 games this season and will likely be a top four team in the conference. Chris Paul alone will make this team competitive against any team in a seven game series, and with the additions of Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford, Ronny Turiaf, Matt Barnes and Willie Green, the team figures to be one of the deepest in the league.
But I can’t help but think the Clippers are one of those teams that are good but not good enough. It’s still to be determined if the team’s starting frontcourt, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, is ready to evolve from being best known as great, athletic dunkers. From what I have seen in the preseason, Griffin’s overall game on both ends of the court seems to be more honed than it was at the end of last season, even after suffering a meniscus tear before the start of the Olympics in July.
Despite the new additions, it seems as though many of the positions played by the newcomers overlap with one another, potentially causing a logjam in the rotation.
After being named the Sixth Man of the Year in 2010-11 playing for the Lakers, Odom battled demons last season after being traded from the Lakers to the Mavericks after the vetoed Chris Paul trade, eventually being dismissed by Mark Cuban and Co. If the Clippers get an Odom who has everything together above the shoulders, they are a completely different team.
Key Players: Chris Paul and Blake Griffin
Key Additions: Lamar Odom and Jamal Crawford
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