In December of 2011, the Los Angeles Clippers made headlines by trading for arguably the best point guard in the game today in Chris Paul. This past summer they made headlines due to the Donald Sterling fiasco. And in between they have made headlines with win streaks, alley-oops, and other key acquisitions. But come playoff time they have made less noise, advancing to the conference semi-finals two out of the last three seasons but going no further.
But this could be the year things change. The West will be just as competitive as ever with most likely ten or eleven teams vying for the top eight spots. Young teams such as Golden State, Portland, and Denver have continued to develop and add good players, and veteran teams like the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies have added key contributors. But the only teams with the necessary talent to take on the champion Spurs are the Clippers, Thunder and the Rockets. Unfortunately for Houston and Oklahoma City fans, neither of their teams have made the moves to better themselves. But the Clippers are doing all of the right things.
When you look at their roster top to bottom, they look to be one of the best teams in the league. You have a top two point guard in Paul, a top five power forward in Blake Griffin, a defensive stud in the middle in DeAndre Jordan, and a plethora of shooters around them in J.J. Reddick, Jamal Crawford, Jared Dudley, and Matt Barnes. What this team has been lacking in the last few years was consistent play off the bench from their big men.
Although there have been some respectable names such as Antawn Jamison, Kenyon Martin, and Lamar Odom, none of these guys contributed to the team during the same season and were there at the tail ends of their career. But this year is different. Lob City retained the services of Glen Davis who averaged 9.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last year, and signed dark-horse free agent Spencer Hawes who averaged 13.2 points and 8.3 rebounds last year for the 76ers (ESPN.com). The two will make a good tandem off the bench with their rebounding ability, size, and solid offensive games. Hawes is a seven footer who shot 41% from behind the arc, and Davis is 6’9 289lbs with good touch around the basket.
Along with these two the team has been rumored trying to sign another big man to round out the rotation. They have been in talks with Andray Blatche, Emeka Okafor, Greg Oden, and Andrew Bynum. Even if they do not get any of these players, the fact that they are still looking after signing Hawes and bringing back Davis shows that they are aware of what they need to do, and are making a strong effort to improve. With a solid frontline from the starters to the bench to go along with their shooters and star point guard, the Clippers finally have what it takes to truly contend in the West.