From here , it is all untrue. No pretenders. No”if a few things go right” aspirants. No”maybe, just perhaps” hopefuls.
Real contenders only.
The Clippers, by virtue of being said after that introduction, are just one such contender.
Free of the shadow cast by Donald Sterling and imbued with the terrifying excitement and impossibly deep pockets of new owner Steve Ballmer, the Clips will look to lock a top-three seed in the West again. This moment, tough, they’ll aspire to advance to the Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.
The bulk of the responsibility falls on the familiar shoulders of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, two players who could readily lead the Clips to yet another No. 1 finish in offensive efficiency. Together with Doc Rivers’ direction and (hopefully) another step from DeAndre Jordan, L.A. is in excellent position for another deep playoff run.
There are concerns, however.
The wing positions are somewhat weak behind J.J. Redick. Matt Barnes is slated to begin at the 3, and at age 34 there should be real concerns that his 4.2 percentage (yes, 4.2 percent) shooting from long range during the preseason is less a blip and more a sign that his offensive game has dropped off a cliff.
Spencer Hawes was the team’s big offseason get, and as valuable as he is as a passer and floor-spacer, he will not frighten anybody on defense.
If the offense remains elite and Rivers can handle his frontcourt rotation wisely, the Clippers might be slightly better than they were a year ago. That may be enough for them to reach heights they’ve never attained.
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