Originally written for publishing on April 16, 2013.
At the start of the NBA season, many people had already crowned the Los Angeles Lakers as the champions after they added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. However, the Lakers are struggling to barely sneak into the playoffs, and have not even been the best team in LA.
The Clippers, who are usually the laughing stock of the league, have taken over as the best team in LA and proven that they are legitimate title contenders. The Clippers did not add any marquee players last offseason, but added some great role players to a core that was already a playoff team.
The addition of players like Matt Barnes, Jamal Crawford, Willie Green, Grant Hill and Lamar Odom have made the Clippers one of the deepest teams in the league. The team already had players like Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups, Deandre Jordan, Blake Griffin and arguably the best closer in the game, Chris Paul.
The Clippers have had the best season in the history of the franchise this year. They have won their first ever division title and have the best record in their history. With a record of 54-26, the Clippers have clinched home court advantage in the playoffs and are still a long shot for the three seed.
The most likely scenario is that they will take the fourth seed and create a rematch of last year’s first-round series with the Memphis Grizzlies. Last year’s series was a classic and went seven games. However, this year, the Clippers are a far better team than they were last year and the Grizzlies are not the team that they were. If this is the first round matchup, it should not go over five games.
Even though the Clippers were in the playoffs last year, it was apparent that there were a lot of teams better than them, as shown by the Spurs sweeping them out of the second round. This year, the only team that seems to be more built to make a title run in the West is the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Even though the Nuggets are a higher seed, they do not have a player that can absolutely take over a game and are not built for the playoffs. The Spurs are the second seed, but the Clippers have proven that they are a poor matchup for the older team.
This Clipper team will undoubtedly go down as the best team in the franchise’s history up to this point, and only time will tell how far they go. The team has a lot of young players, and some veterans locked up.
If Chris Paul re-signs, the Clippers are not going anywhere and may take over as the best team, right now, in Los Angeles.