The sale of the LA Clippers to Steve Ballmer in many ways sets their roster (among other things which impact the odds) so it’s time to evaluate their value as NBA picks next season.
Sale Of The Clippers Made Official
Donald Sterling will still try to fight this, at least in all probability, but the sale has gone through. The NBA said on Tuesday that the sale of Shelly Sterling to Steve Ballmer is final, and that the longtime Microsoft executive will be able to take full control of the Los Angeles Clippers. You know what this means on an immediate level. Doc Rivers won’t flee as the team’s head coach. Chris Paul and the rest of the African-American players on the roster won’t bolt for other teams.
What This Means For The Clippers
It’s a chance for this organization to breathe and feel that the past is now in the rearview mirror, not a bothersome, nagging, present-tense ghost that lingers over the club. The roster can now move on to the challenge of trying to get to the first Western Conference Finals series in franchise history.
A lot of people are going to wonder if Chris Paul is up to the task of getting this team deeper into the playoffs. That depends in part on Paul being healthy. He’s been vulnerable to injuries the past several seasons, and he needs to find ways of putting his body through less strain and contact during the regular season. It’s true that Paul has to play with his fearlessness and energy, but he also needs to realize that he needs to be at his best in the playoffs for the Clippers to have a successful season. Paul’s minutes and scoring were roughly the same in the postseason compared to the regular season, but his free throw averages in terms of both shots attempted (5.6 to 4.1) and shooting percentage (85.5 percent to 77.4 percent) both declined in the 2014 playoffs. Assists were similar but slightly down, by 0.4 assists (10.7 to 10.3). Steals per game were up to 2.8 from 2.5. Paul needs to be able to lift his game a lot more in the spring for the Clippers to get where they need to go.
What are the other huge needs for the Clippers? DeAndre Jordan has to be able to hit shots beyond three or four feet from the basket. His playoff field goal percentage was 73%, but that was almost entirely layups and dunks. Jordan has to find more moves in the post, and he has to improve upon his 43.4-percent foul-shooting performance in the 2014 playoffs.
A player the Clippers brought in to help back up Jordan is Spencer Hawes. This is a player who can hit mid-range jump shots and bring a more offense-based identity to the team. With Cleveland last season, Hawes averaged 13.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He hit 3-of-3 three-point shots in a win over Detroit on April 9. If Hawes can be a solid perimeter shooter, he could help space the court for Blake Griffin by playing center while Griffin stays at his power forward spot. These are things the Clipper roster needs in the coming season.
How To Bet The News
For bettors, the news of the Clippers’ sale has distracted from the reality. People thought this team might fall off the table if Donald Sterling was somehow able to maintain his power of the team. Instead, the focus should be on the Clippers ability or inability to take the next step.
The news of the sale means the Clipper should be charged up in the early part of the season. For future NBA picks, bet on them early on against the spread – especially in their home opener.
In the long run, we haven’t learned whether or not they’re on par with the San Antonio Spurs. They appear to have the pieces in place but they’ll need home-court advantage and maybe one other bench piece to get there.