One of the most improved teams in the entire west this offseason is the LA Clippers. Their future odds this offseason have them at +1000 to win the NBA Title, and +500 to win the west. What do the NBA odds tells us about this team?
Just what Doc ordered
The addition of Doc Rivers is going to be huge for this team. In fact if you could rank his importance in comparison to the rest of the Clippers’ roster, he would rank damn, near the top of the list. Behind Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, he may be the next most important piece of bringing a title back to LA.
Rivers takes over an already stout roster of players, and if he can install the mindset of defense before offense in LA, this team will go very far. Rivers has an NBA Title already as a coach, he has a stretch where his teams have had winning percentages of 60% or higher, and he is taking over a team with just as much, if not more talent than the 2007-2008 Celtics. While that team had three super stars at the end of their careers, this team has two in their primes, and a deep roster behind them. Outside of young Rajon Rondo, the big three of those Celtics’ next best player was Kendrick Perkins.
The Sharp Pick
Let me start by saying that it is REALLY early to be making basketball predictions about what will be happening in the spring when the season just changed to fall. With that being said, I have to give the people what they want. However some people in LA may not like what I’m about to say.
While I don’t think it’s because of the team they’ve put together, I don’t think LA is going to run the west this season. In fact I don’t think they will finish inside the top two seeds of the Western Conference. Those I think are reserved for the Thunder and the Spurs still. Even though the Clippers may sneak into a #2 seed, I don’t see them having enough to win the west during the regular season.
With that being said, I have to point out two things. First is that when it comes to playing the Thunder, LA brings a lot to the table, but what they don’t bring is defense on two of the top ten players in the NBA.
Last season Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook destroyed the Clippers. Durant averaged 34 points per game against LA while his partner in crime, Westbrook, averaged 26 per game and shot over 47% from the floor. Westbrook is a career 43% from the field.
If the Clippers can’t come up with ways to stop these guys (needless to say that not too many people have figured it out yet) they aren’t going to be able to advance to a West finals scenario. Even if they get there, you have to think they would most likely be going against OKC. It seems that either way it goes, the Clippers are going to have to go through the Thunder or Spurs. San Antonio and LA split their regular season series last year, and of course two seasons ago LA was swept out of the playoffs by the Spurs.
I’m not saying it can’t happen, because the Clippers are very close. If they can fix the free throw issues of Griffin and Deandre Jordan, that will be a start. LA could easily get back to 55 or more wins this year, but the west around them is tougher. They could be a bit streaky at times, but overall LA is a good candidate to get to the Western Conference Finals. I would also not shame anyone this year for taking them in the future sports betting odds.Join the discussion on the upcoming 2013-14 NBA season on SBRForum's basketball message boards!