News » Los Angeles Clippers Getting Inside 2009-10-16


Los Angeles Clippers Getting Inside 2009-10-16


Los Angeles Clippers Getting Inside 2009-10-16The Los Angeles Clippers, after various additions and subtractions made to their roster, look primed for a return to the playoffs after suffering through one disappointing season, then two straight miserable seasons following a trip to the 2006 Western Conference Semifinals.

That 2005-2006 squad relied on veterans, such as Sam Cassell, Cuttino Mobley, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette. The the 2009-2010 version will look largely to its youngsters to lead the way, a group that includes No. 1 overall draft pick Blake Griffin, returners DeAndre Jordan, Al Thornton and Eric Gordon and newcomers Rasual Butler, Sebastian Telfair and Craig Smith.

If the young players can perform at a high level and take some of the pressure off of established veterans Baron Davis, Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby, then the Clippers will progress quickly.

Kaman and Camby, in particular, will need help down low, because while veteran Brian Skinner is a solid backup, he is no longer suited to take on a heavy workload. Kaman and Camby have had trouble staying healthy, but if either one goes down for a lengthy period of time, then Griffin or Jordan can step up and provide points and boards.

Davis, meanwhile, has had his own injury problems throughout his career. But whether or not he can play a full season won't be as big of a factor as how well Telfair performs in the spotlight as Davis' presumed backup. Telfair can use his basketball intelligence to keep his teammates involved while minimizing the excessive flash.

Telfair is expected to be joined on the bench by Butler and Smith, and both players should constitute an upgrade over departed players Alex Acker and Fred Jones. Butler can provide scoring and Smith rebounding. Therefore, the bench should be a plus when compared to last year's backups.

There are two keys questions concerning the Clippers. How will they respond to each other when the bright lights are turned on in late October? And will these players live up to their potential, unlike other similarly talented, but ultimately failing, outfits the past three seasons?

With the new blood infused into this organization, the Clippers just might prove that there is more to Los Angeles basketball than the Lakers.

COACHING STAFF: Head Coach -- Mike Dunleavy, 18th season overall, 6th with Clippers (592-688). Assistants -- John Lucas, Tony Brown, Kim Hughes and Fred Vinson.

LAST SEASON, REMEMBERED: 19-63 (5th in Pacific).

THIS SEASON, PREDICTED: 42-40 (3rd in Pacific), Western Conference First Round.

POSSIBLE CHANGES, PREDICTED: Head coach Mike Dunleavy lightens up a bit and lets these players find an identity together. In the past, Dunleavy has been guilty of micro-managing games, but in 2009-2010 he will realize that approach won't work with a team that features many new faces.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 16, 2009

 

 
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