After the disaster that was the Western Conference Semi-Finals, the Clippers have had a fruitful offseason despite salary cap restraints. That Houston series may prove to be a turning point for this franchise, especially with the explosive claims from Doc Rivers and Jamal Crawford saying “we weren’t on guard against Houston..we never thought we could lose three in a row to them,” (per Grantland’s Zach Lowe). However that’s in the past and GM Doc Rivers has had a stellar offseason acquiring the likes of Paul Pierce, Wesley Johnson, Josh Smith and Lance Stephenson whilst giving up just Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes for them. He also retained DeAndre Jordan in one of the most fascinating offseason sagas of all time. This means that for the first time in recent memory, the Clippers will be more than seven deep come playoff time, with a bench unit likely consisting of Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford alongside Stephenson, Pierce and Smith (reports state that Wesley Johnson is favoured to start at time of writing). That bench unit is one that could potentially get them over the hump in the West however it is a unit that does not help this model.
The Clippers have a 7.05 point differential without offseason additions (not including the aforementioned players and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Chuck Hayes and Pablo Prigioni) – one which places them 2nd in the West – and a 3 point differential with offseason additions, which places them equal 4th in the West. Without Lance Stephenson they have a five point differential. This can be taken in two ways, they’ve brought in terrible players in the offseason or they’ve brought in players with stock at it’s lowest point after inefficient seasons. This is particularly true for the aforementioned Stephenson, who will be looking to bounce back to his Indiana form after a career worst year in Charlotte. Along with this, Smith, Stephenson and Johnson all played over 25mins a game last year and will probably average under 20 at the Clippers but is not factored in due to the way this model regulates minutes. This is the best team the Clippers have ever produced, and if Stephenson can find his shooting form (the signs didn’t look too good in the preseason, whatever that means) and play as a role player, Smith can retain his shot from the playoffs and Paul Pierce can hit the clutch buckets, the Clippers will be a force to be reckoned with. The Clippers season and how Coach Doc Rivers is judged will come down to how well their offseason additions, made by GM Doc Rivers, can produce.
Model Projected Record: 48-34
My Predicted Wins: 51-56
|2014||FGA Ratio||1||FTA Ratio||1|
|STANDING IN WEST||6|