COACH: Mike Dunleavy | 2007-08: 23-59
Los Angeles Clippers

Davis is just one of the gaggle of new faces suiting up for the Clippers this year.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Would you trade Elton Brand and Corey Maggette straight up for Baron Davis and Marcus Camby?

By signing Davis away from Golden State and stealing Camby from the Nuggets for nothing but a second-round pick, the Clippers were able to withstand Brand’s suspicious defection to Philadelphia and Maggette’s jaunt up the coast to the Warriors and might just have come out as a better team.

It’s understandable why seeing Brand skip town was tough to swallow for Clippers fans. L.A.’s “other” pro basketball team, a longtime league doormat and redheaded stepchild in Tinseltown, rarely accomplishes anything worth cheering about and it was Brand who was the lynchpin on the Clips’ 2005-06 squad that won 47 games and reached the second round of the playoffs.

But sometimes emotions cloud the facts, and the reality of the situation is that Brand played just eight games last season, turns 30-years old in March and is trying to comeback from a shredded Achilles’ tendon.

Davis gives the Clippers a dynamic guard who can literally take over a game the way that few can when he gets rolling. His penchant for creating steals, running the fastbreak, distributing the ball on offense and all the while splashing treys or putting a dunk on some poor defender’s head (ahem, Andrei Kirilenko) add up to one of the complete talents in the league when healthy and motivated.

That’s not to say that health and motivation are a given for B-Diddy this season. He’s playing in the backyard where he grew up. You can’t tell me that ticket requests, party invites and movie-making opportunities from his SoCal buddies and UCLA friends won’t be just a little distracting to The Bearded One.

Add in the fact that Davis looked a little doughy in paparazzi photos that surfaced of him and leading lady Jessica Alba the beach. Alba just popped out a baby and her body still looked more toned than L.A.’s $65 million man.

Usually you want your star spending the offseason working out with a trusted trainer like Tim Grover, David Thorpe or Idan Ravin. Instead, Davis admitted to taking on the Jenny Craig regimen. No joke.

Outside of Baron’s love handles, there’s a lot to love about this Clippers team. Al Thornton had as good of a second half of the season as any rookie – Kevin Durant included – last year; Chris Kaman is one of the handful of true back-to-the-basket big men around today and is one of the best rebounders in the league; Cuttino Mobley, Tim Thomas and free agent Ricky Davis can do nothing if not score; and rookie combo guard Eric Gordon and hybrid forward DeAndre Jordan are exciting prospects.

Mike Dunleavy enters his sixth season at the helm in L.A., amazingly becoming one of the longest tenured coaches in the league despite occupying a position that has traditionally been just about as stable as the San Andreas Fault Line.

Improving upon last season’s 23-59 record should be a given for this new-look squad and if all the new faces end up fostering a this-is-new-and-exciting, we’re-all-in-this-together chemistry, then the Clips might just be able to vie for a lower rung playoff spot in the hyper-competitive West.

And if that happens, Clippers fans will be sure their team got the better end of their offseason deals.

-- Dave McMenamin

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Thornton
Tim Duncan. Shane Battier. David West. What do they all have in common? Work ethic? Yes. Respect of their teammates? Check. All-around games on both ends of the court? That too. But the true tie that binds these three is the fact they spent four years matriculating in the NCAA before heading to the pros.

Al Thornton, the Clippers' 6-8, 220-pound package of power and grace can count four years of dorm life, blue book exams and dining hall food on his resume as well.

Will Thornton's college years pay off in the same way they did for Duncan, Battier and West? If his rookie season is any indication, he seems to be headed in the right direction.

With L.A.'s roster undergoing more changes this offseason than an awards hostess goes through dresses during the course of a telecast, Thornton's development can make or break the Clips' postseason dreams.

If Thornton improves upon the 16.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game he put up over the last three months of last season, he'll be well on his way to earning his masters degree in the NBA.

-- Dave McMenamin

THE STAT
12,735 The number of points that franchise leader Randy Smith scored for the Clippers in his career.
The Clippers made some nice additions during the offseason but the loss of Brand may be too much to overcome.
Marcus Camby gives them a nice defensive presence, something Mike Dunleavy has been missing in his system since he’s been in LA. And of course Baron Davis is an offensive talent the rival of many in the NBA but his demeanor and bouts of selfishness is not what this team needs.
Chris Kaman is a solid, consistent center and with EB gone will continue to be the Clips low post threat and is certainly more than up to the task.
Unfortunately, Mobley’s best days seem to be behind him and Tim Thomas has yet to show up for more than three games in a row since he’s been in the NBA. He has had some good playoff games, but unless he steps up to help this team in the regular season they won’t be seeing the playoffs.
Al Thornton could help here if he continues to mature.
One thing is sure, the Clippers will continue to be one of the best prepared teams in the league but this may also be a drawback because BD hates meetings and is more interested in just playing games.
-- NBA Scout
So instead of playing with one of the game’s elite post scorers, Baron Davis will run the point for a team that – on paper – seems somewhat similar to the team he left: a lot of young wing players with potential and a couple of bigs that aren’t really offensive-minded. Whether that will keep Davis happy is hard to say.

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Record: 47-35, 7th in Western Conference
Playoffs: Lost in First Round to Houston, 4-2
Scoring Leader: B. Davis, 19.6 PPG
Rebounding Leader: C. Kaman, 9.3 RPG
Assist Leader: B. Davis, 8.6 APG

Simulated Season Details
PLAYER/2007-08 STATS PPG RPG APG
PG Baron Davis 21.8 4.7 7.6
SG Cuttino Mobley 12.8 3.6 2.6
SF Al Thornton 12.7 4.5 1.2
PF Chris Kaman 15.7 12.7 1.9
C Marcus Camby 9.1 13.1 3.3

F-G Ricky Davis 13.8 4.3 3.4
G Eric Gordon -- -- --
G Jason Hart 2.9 1.0 1.5
C DeAndre Jordan -- -- --
F Steve Novak 3.9 1.0 0.2
F-C Brian Skinner 3.3 3.6 0.2
F Tim Thomas 12.5 5.1 2.7
C Marcus Camby Trade
G Baron Davis Free agent
F-G Ricky Davis Free agent
G Eric Gordon Draft
G Jason Hart Trade
C DeAndre Jordan Draft
G Mike Taylor Draft
F Elton Brand Free agent
G Brevin Knight Trade
G Corey Maggette Free agent
G Smush Parker Free agent
F Ruben Patterson Free agent
F Josh Powell Free agent
G-F Quinton Ross Free agent
G Shaun Livingston Free agent
PPG Corey Maggette 22.1
RPG Chris Kaman 12.7
APG Brevin Knight 4.4
SPG Brevin Knight 1.4
BPG Chris Kaman 2.8
Points Scored 93.8 (29th)
Points Allowed 101.07 (18th)
Field-Goal Percentage .438 (29th)
Opponents' FG% .467 (24th)
Rebounding Diff. -3.43 (28th)
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