MEDIA DAY BRINGS IN NEW SEASON

Expectations for the Clippers have never been higher as more than 150 media members from around the globe Friday crowded into the team's Playa Vista Training Facility.

PLAYA VISTA–The madness of Media Day arrived at the Clippers Training Center Friday, Sept. 28 where more than 150 writers and reporters from around the globe crowded onto the practice court.

All 15 members of the Clippers roster as well as five training camp invites were moved through several media stations over the three-hour event. Among other things, there were spots for photos, green screens for videos, sit-down segments for television, and an interview table.

“This (Media Day) is letting you know, it’s about to start, it’s about to kickoff,” small forward Caron Butler said. “You enjoyed your summer. You had a lot of time to yourself to find yourself, let yourself go, and find yourself again. Now, it’s time to get back to business.”

As business begins for the Clippers, so does a mass of heightened expectations. The additions of Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill, Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes and others to an already high-powered lineup, has generated a significant buzz, which showed with the media turnout.




FOX Sports, ESPN, TNT, and NBATV were on the scene conducting on-camera interviews, while reporters from a litany of other global outlets hovered around a round table near the entrance to the court where players, Head Coach Vinny Del Negro, and Vice President of Basketball Operations Gary Sacks spent as many as 15 minutes apiece talking about everything from the team’s newfound depth and versatility to its goals heading into 2012-13.

“We walked in today and it’s still overwhelming to see L.O. (Odom), Jamal Crawford and all these guys,” point guard Chris Paul said. “But we haven’t even had a practice or anything. If the season was played out on paper we would have a pretty good shot.”

Del Negro, entering his third year at head coach, will have a number of lineups to throw out at the opposition and was pleased with how the team is constructed.

“I think we have a good mixture of younger players, guys in their prime and some older veteran guys,” Del Negro said. “We just have a good balance; a better balance than last year and we’ll see how it all comes together.”

The Clippers are a year removed from one of the most successful seasons in franchise history. They won better than 60-percent of their regular-season games and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

Odom, who was originally drafted 4th overall in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Clippers, was confident in this team’s chances to compete in a tough Western Conference.

“This team is built to compete against the best teams in the NBA,” Odom said. “If we were to play a seven-game series against one of the best teams in the NBA, I would expect us to compete. We expect to win here.”