The Los Angeles Clippers made the NBA playoffs last season. It was the franchise’s first postseason appearance since 2005-06. We all made a pretty big deal about it, and then the Clippers lost in the second round.
Despite the early exit, the season was viewed as a success and there is excitement about the future. Behind Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and a handful of solid veterans, there’s no reason why the Clippers can’t dream of better seasons and deeper playoff runs ahead.
But here’s the reality of last season and most seasons: The Clippers almost always fall short of preseason expectations. Over the last six years, Los Angeles hasn’t reached its over/under win total a single time.
|YEAR||WIN TOTAL||# OF WINS||WINS SHY|
As you can see, the Clippers have fallen below their win total by an average of 6.75 wins per year. They twice had win totals in the low 30s and managed to finish 8.5 and 14.5 wins shy of expectations.
This year, L.A.’s win total is currently 49.5. There are sure to be plenty of folks willing to take the over, and we might actually be among them.
The Clippers were one of the league’s best offensive teams in 2011. They finished No. 2 in turnover rate, fourth in offensive rebounding and seventh in shooting. They’ll be even better this year if Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan improve at the free-throw line. (The team hired a free-throw shooting coach in the offseason.)
Chauncey Billups missed much of last year and will return. Lamar Odom is a boom-or-bust addition (we think he’ll have a nice year), and Grant Hill is a solid veteran who will log important minutes. (Jamal Crawford, too.)
Defensively, the team stinks and will probably continue to stink, and Vinny Del Negro is an awful coach who threatens to destroy team morale and chemistry at any time. Still, we think there’s enough talent here to reach 50 wins and expect the Clippers to exceed expectations for the first time since 2005.
What do you think? Tell us here.