|2010-11 Team Ratin|
|22nd Overall||23rd Overall|
Stats through Jan. 15
Blake Griffin. Blake Griffin, Blake Griffin, Blake Griffin. His rocket to stardom is accompanied by 2010 All-Star Chris Kaman and/or the emerging DeAndre Jordan. But the Clippers need a small forward.
Without the attention of Griffin, Eric Gordon has advanced from a solid shooting guard to an underrated offensive weapon. Baron Davis' improved play around midseason was encouraging, but he needs to sustain.
The Clippers are surprisingly solid -- 13th in shooting defense -- while relying on so many young players, with a frontline that sometimes features two rookies (Griffin, Al-Farouq Aminu) and a 22 year old (Jordan).
The lack of a scoring threat off the bench, or any reliable game-changer since Kaman's injury moved Jordan into the opening lineup, is a problem. Not a surprising one, but a problem.
Vinny Del Negro passed an early challenge by holding the locker room together amid bad chemistry that helped trigger a terrible start. His hard line with Davis was also unmistakable.
The Clippers have gone from a 1-13 disaster area to off-the-charts promising as the young corps of Griffin, Gordon and Jordan, and the improved play of Davis, leads the recovery. Both are misleading -- the brutal start was never going to hold, just as they are not ready to threaten a playoff berth, no matter how much excitement Griffin and the impressive recent record has generated.
There are far too many self-inflicted mistakes, from a glut of turnovers to challenging for the bottom of the league in turnovers. The three-point game is weak as well. Griffin can make the highlights every night, but, bottom line, the inefficient offense is costing the Clippers victories.
There is obviously reason for optimism now. If the recent upswing continues and the second half goes anywhere as well as the last month, they will position themselves for the playoffs as soon as next season. That alone would make 2010-11 a success on many levels.
Explanation of Marking System