The Los Angeles Clippers have the Donald Sterling story behind them. They’re a unified team with a tight locker room and a lot of optimism about the future. Now, can this team deliver for bettors NBA picks and win a championship?
2014-15 Regular Season Total: 55
Why the Clippers Will Go Over the Number
The Los Angeles Clippers have the main pieces of a really good team. They have the cornerstone point guard in Chris Paul. They have the powerful, high-scoring forward who can hit medium-range jump shots, a person named Blake Griffin. The Clippers have a nasty, rebounding and defending center in DeAndre Jordan. They have one of the better coaches in the league in Doc Rivers. They have the basic building blocks. They are going to be able to get great ballhandling late in close games. They’re going to get low-post scoring and tough interior defense. They’re going to get good coaching. They’re going to play hard and with a lot of motivation after the departure of Donald Sterling from his ownership post made a lot of people in and around the organization feel so much better about the future. Why wouldn’t this team be able to do well?
In addition to all of this, look at some numbers for the Clippers. Last season, this team was second in free throw attempts and third in made free throws. This team was third in two-point field goal percentage and third in overall field goal percentage as well. Because of Paul, this team was third in assists and sixth in steals. The Clippers were also pretty good on defense, rating fifth in field goal percentage defense. They were ninth in the number of three-point shots allowed. There’s so much about this team that was and is already good. This year, it can be better.
Why the Clippers Will Stay Under the Number
The Clippers do have the main pieces of a great team, but now they need the complementary parts, and that’s a big question mark heading into the season. One thing to note when looking at this team’s many positive statistics from last season is that there are a few holes in the statistical profile. The Clippers did make a ton of foul shots, but they hit only 73 percent of them because DeAndre Jordan was a 43-percent free throw shooter during the regular season. Jordan has no real offensive game to speak of. He only shoots layups or dunks, and so that drives up the team’s field goal percentage, but in a way, it artificially improves the Clippers’ stats. If Jordan had a 10-foot jumper, he wouldn’t always make it, but if he could hit 45 percent of those shots, he would space the floor for Griffin and make the Clippers much harder to defend. This is a really good offensive team, but it has weaknesses that can keep it under 55 wins. The Clippers also did not have enough three-point shooting. The team was eighth in three-point attempts but only 22nd in three-point shooting percentage.
The Clippers might struggle in the playoffs, but this team is poised to do really well in the regular season with all its explosive talent. Take Los Angeles to go above the number for your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Over 55