Blogtable: Are The Clips Contenders?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Blogtable Week 3: The new-look Lakers | Does a coach matter? | Are the Clips legit?

Sekou’s team-crush aside, have you seen anything that convinces you the Clippers are a title threat? If so, what?

Steve Aschburner: Nope, haven’t seen it yet. But then, I haven’t seen much that would convince me of that with most teams yet. Too early. We’ll know more about the Clippers in 10 days, for instance, after their trip to San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Brooklyn and Atlanta. But what has been impressive has been L.A.’s bench, which carried them past the Hawks in the first game the Clippers failed to score 100 points. Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes and Rony Turiaf all fit, and if Lamar Odom could approach his form of 2-3 seasons ago, look out. That depth will help the starters over the long haul. And if Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups can return and be effective in shorter minutes, well, then there’ll be some serious convincing going on.

Fran Blinebury: If the Thunder offense continues to look discombobulated, if the Lakers can’t flip the switch with D’Antoni, if one of the aging Spurs suddenly pulls something, why not the Clippers?  Jamal Crawford has juiced the offense, DeAndre Jordan has raised his game and Chris Paul is still Chris Paul.  But I still want more out of Blake Griffin at both ends to be sold.

Jeff Caplan: Yeah, I like this team. I don’t know that Blake Griffin is developing the type of dominant, low-post game so many of us envision, but they are a deep, deep team and will still get veteran leader Chauncey Billups back at some point. Six players are averaging in double figures and they’re shooting nearly 50 percent as a team while holding opponents to 43 percent. I do like the progression of DeAndre Jordan‘s game as well. Jordan and Griffin’s terrible free-throw shooting is scary and I still feel like they swoon in and out of games at times. But, with Chris Paul running the show, lots of young legs and good shooting and the West wide open, this group can contend.

Scott Howard-Cooper: I have seen Chris Paul early this season, I have seen Jamal Crawford early this season, I have seen someone appearing to be Eric Bledsoe go past in a blur early this season. So, yes, the Clippers have something. But I have not seen Grant Hill or Chauncey Billups, so it’s difficult to say for sure exactly what the Clips have, and the focus has also been inconsistent. It would not be a shock if they win the West, if that answers the question. I just don’t think they are at the very top of the list of contenders. And Sekou does not have a team crush. He has a city crush. He’s got the Los Angeles D-Fenders sweeping through the playoffs if it gets him to L.A. to cover the NBA D-League championship series.

John Schuhmann: They currently rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, which is where you need to be if you want to call yourself a contender. Most important is the defensive improvement, which really showed in last Wednesday’s win over the Spurs, just one of their three quality wins so far. But it’s early and we’ll see if they can sustain that over 82 games. The one thing I don’t like about the Clips is the lack of depth on the frontline, especially with how bad Lamar Odom has looked thus far. If they can’t count on him, they really have nothing behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Sekou Smith: The Memphis “Hang Time” Grizzlies are Exhibit A in my “team-crush” case. But the Clippers absolutely have the necessary combination of superstar talent (Chris Paul, Blake Griffin), quality depth (Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes, etc.) and seasoned leadership (Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler and Paul) required for inclusion to the championship-caliber conversation. There are only a handful of teams every season that possess those things. The Clippers join the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers as the only teams in the Western Conference in that conversation. The Clippers have also shown in their bouts against the highest quality competition that they are prepared to battle with the best whenever the occasion calls for it, which is always a telling sign, even in the early stages of a season.


  1. CP3toStayinLA says:

    The Clips are contenders because they are playing like it. People said the Clips had a test against the Heat last night. The Clips won the game, and now people are saying well, let’s see how they play against the Spurs and OKC next week. If the Clippers keep playing like they’ve played in the last few games, it’ll be very difficult for any team to beat them, at home or on the road.

    If they stay healthy, get Chauncey and Grant back, as well as Odom playing to his potential — the West is theirs and they just may be the 2013 NBA Champions!

  2. nel_sun says:

    they’re a team with a lot of depth experienced players, and also they got the master mind Chris Paul to run the game!
    clippers seen like legit contenders to me.

  3. Signer says:

    Fun fact: The Grizzles an the Spurs are 7-1. The only team to beat them both is the Clippers.

    These guys are contenders as it stands. Whether you’re a fan of them or not, that much is certain. They’ve even pulled a strong win against the champs, forcing Lebron to play hero ball.

    Unless a slew of injuries occur or everyone just suddenly gets terrible, there is no doubt that these guys do damage in the playoffs. Everything is connecting, even Vinny’s inconsistent rotation. This is a squad meant to be together. And yes, I mean championship-wise. That’s all before taking into account the amount of heart and chemistry this team possesses. Possibly more than any other team in the league.

  4. Steven says:

    John Schuhmann, No depth up front. Tell that to Matt Barnes, Ryan Hollins and Ronni Turiaf. These guys come in and play with more energy and defensive purpose than the starters do. I don’t know what games you have been watching but it certainly is not the Clippers!!!!!

  5. wayne says:

    thee CLIPPERS have got it figured out, after watching them pick and trade the best talent in the league ( being cheap)
    staple center has them feeling like they can pay play and win this thing, imagine a blue banner across from all those Gold banners in Staples WOW

  6. mario says:

    With this roster? Offcourse they r contenders. It s all up to the coach.

  7. dattebayo says:

    The Clippers should be the Division Champs this season, that should be the goal. They are deep and full of stars and good role players and when they play the Lakers it shouldn’t be an anomaly for them to win. The Lakers have proven allstars as starters, but with all the drama and the bench underperforming just like last season, I really doubt that they can pull off 55 wins. Calling any team a contender at the moment is just guessing because no one can foresee injuries and stuff like that. The Bulls were favorites to come out of the East along with Miami and then they lost Rose, Noah and the series against Philly.

  8. aaron b says:

    i live in okc and match up wise in the west clippers seem to be our biggest threat ive seen first hand how they scored 18 pt in one minute on us DJ and blake own the paint and no one more athletic then those two in the leauge and they got great vet role player like BUTLER and BILLUPS chris paul the best PG in the leauge they should of kept K-mart but o well they are contenders in my eyes cause there a terriable match up for us OKC and the heat

  9. amitpal says:

    I think in the next week or so we should find out if the clippers really are a chamoionship contender. So far it seems like it. They have beaten the spurs grizzlies and lakers. Only other team left to beat is okc who they actuslly matchup pretty good against. We will find iut tonight if they trully r a western final contender or a championship contender. And in next 10 days we will find out if there the favorite to come out of west if they can beat both okc and spurs without chauncey grant and iout of shape odom.

  10. Clips says:

    Of course they are! People look at the Clippers name and history and automatically write them off. Last year they took out the Grizzlies, who IMO played a very dirty series and got away with murder. They went into the 2nd round banged up and of course got swept by the veteran Spurs, but this year they are even better than last with playoff experience and stronger chemistry. However, there are two things that will keep them from winning the west and those are (lack of) defense and injuries…, and Lamar Odom. If he keeps being as unproductive as he has been it will cost them games.

  11. W/E says:

    Blake and Deandre are very weak offensively,come playoff time they r gunna be non factors like last year,perimeter players Chris paul,Jamal crawford,Billups,Caron butler and Bledsoe are gunna have to step up in order to go deep in the playoffs.

    • CP3toStayinLA says:

      Are you currently watching any of the Clips’ games so far this year? Griffin dropped about 5 outside shouts inside the 3 pt line last night against the Heat. His shot was very consistent. He’s worked on his outside shot over the Summer with a shooting coach. He can now dribble coast to coast with ease. Blake’s offense is better and will only continue as the year goes on, which means, by playoffs time he’ll be a monster on offense… and DJ is better offensively as well, which means he’ll only get better as the season progress and playoff time he’ll be ready to contribute offensively.

      The Clips are ready for real. People need to stop judging on past years and decades when the Clippers were not good. This is a new Clippers era and they are scary!

  12. defdun says:

    They’ve got championship calibre, especially when their veteran leadership returns in Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups. The bench is deep and their PG one of the best in the game. But they do miss Reggie Evans who was there for the dirty work, rebounding and D,D,D!
    However even if they end the regular season as no.1,2,3 or 4, they will not make it to the conference finals, as their core hasn’t been there and therefore they need this year to gather experience and momentum. Maybe next year though…