Last season’s version of the Clippers secured the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs with an overall record of 56-26, despite playing with what could be considered a flawed roster. Los Angeles lacked a productive starting small forward, a reliable backup to Chris Paul at the point, as well as depth at center behind DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers fell in the second round of the playoffs to the Rockets in seven games, thanks in large part to the previously mentioned holes in the team’s rotation. One of the biggest miscalculations made by coach/executive Doc Rivers last season was his decision to ink Spencer Hawes to a four-year, $23MM pact instead of addressing the team’s other glaring needs. Hawes didn’t provide much production, and it can be argued that if Rivers had instead signed a wing player who could provide offense and stretch the floor, someone like a Paul Pierce, the team may have advanced deeper into the postseason.
Well, Rivers apparently agreed, judging by the franchise’s offseason moves thus far. Gone is Hawes, and in comes Pierce, as well as the wildcard that is Lance Stephenson, to provide some needed scoring and production from the wing. The team didn’t stop there with the overhaul with Rivers also adding veteran point guard Pablo Prigioni to backup Paul, Josh Smith to provide frontcourt depth and matchup options, and retained both J.J. Redick and Austin Rivers, not to mention staving off the Mavericks and re-signing Jordan.
This brings us to the topic of the day: What are your predictions for the Clippers’ 2015/16 campaign?
Have the Clippers improved enough that they are the team to beat in the West? Or do you think the team merely kept pace with the other conference contenders this Summer? Sound off in the comments section below with your thoughts, opinions, and predictions. Are any of you ready to crown them the preseason favorites in the West, or do you sense a backslide is in the cards for the franchise? How big an impact will the new additions have? If you believe the team still has holes, then what can be done to plug them? We look forward to what you have to say.