Aug 20

2011 NBA Preview: Are the L.A. Clippers Ready to Become a Playoff Team?

blake-griffin-grinLast season the Los Angeles Clippers ascended from being L.A.’s “other team” to being a nightly feature on Sportscenter and a must watch for any NBA fan.

The immediate rise of forward Blake Griffin was more than a ray of hope for Clippers’ fans; it was a sign.

A sign that this team, a team that missed on number one picks, a team plagued by bad luck, a team deemed amongst the most dysfunctional franchises in all sports, may have just hit the jackpot.

While no one in the NBA provided more highlight dunks and sensational box score stat lines than Blake Griffin, there wasn’t much winning to go along with Griffin’s exciting rookie season, after all the Clippers did finish 32-50, good enough for 13th in the western conference.

Nonetheless, Griffin had one of the all-time great rookie seasons averaging 22 points, and 12 rebounds, meriting an all-star selection, and unanimous rookie of the year honors, but Griffin isn’t the only source of excitement for the L.A. Clippers.

Despite missing 26 games the previous season, shooting guard Eric Gordon was another bright spot for the Clippers averaging 22 points. A healthy Gordon could lead the team in scoring, and ultimately become one of the league’s best shooting guards, and the Clippers centerpiece at the wing positions.

Gordon’s game complements Griffin’s game very well as the Clippers possess one of the league’s better inside outside combos.

Second year men Eric Bledsoe and Al Farouq Aminu are still very raw at this point in their careers, but struggled mightily last season. The two second year men have much to improve on, Bledsoe shot 42 percent and struggled with turnover issues, while Aminu shot 39 percent and didn’t rebound as well as the Clippers had hoped.