Previews

NBA season preview: Los Angeles Clippers

clips

STAYING: Jamal Crawford, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Johnson, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, JJ Redick, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Austin Rivers.

ADDED: Alan Anderson (Washington), Brandon Bass (LA Lakers), Raymond Felton (Dallas), Brice Johnson (North Carolina), Marreese Speights (Golden State) and Diamond Stone (Maryland).

GONE: Cole Aldrich (Minnesota), Jeff Ayres, Branden Dawson (Orlando), Jeff Green (Orlando), Pablo Prigioni (Houston) and CJ Wilcox (Orlando).

STRENGTHS: The Big Three … Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are still among the top NBA players at their respective positions … Already in his 30s, CP3 shows no signs of decline … Keeps flirting with 20 and 10 on a regular basis … Griffin should have extra motivation after missing much of the 2015-16 season with a broken hand, then a quad injury … He has added to his offensive repertoire and no longer relies as much on his freaking athleticism … Super explosive big man duo with Jordan, who will once again be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate … A lot of scoring punch at the shooting guard spot with JJ Redick and Jamal Crawford … Overall, putting the ball in the basket is not much of a problem for this club … They are that talented … Elite team defensively too.

WEAKNESSES: The team often struggles when Paul has to take a breather … Clippers’ offensive rating was 113.7 with him on the court and 99.5 with him out last season … Austin Rivers and Raymond Felton are not the most efficient backups you can find … They are pretty thin at small forward … Supporting cast is good, but not great … They have underwhelmed a bunch of times when the going got tough in the playoffs … Mentally, not the toughest squad around … Griffin has not been the most durable player throughout his NBA career … With so many rotation players on the wrong side of 30, staying healthy might be a challenge … Aside from dunking anything around the rim, Jordan doesn’t pose much of an offensive threat … Free throw shooting will remain a problem … Making 69.2 percent of attempts from the foul line just doesn’t cut it … The feeling is the championship window may have closed for them … Team morale and confidence perhaps not at their highest after so many disappointments the last few years.

PREDICTION: 2nd in the Pacific Division, 3rd in the Western Conference.

SALARIES:

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