I know Laker fans are probably reading this headline and shaking their heads.
Yes, I know how many championships the Lakers have and how many the Clips have. No, I’m not using any banned substances. Yes, I have had a full night’s sleep.
I watched the Clips for the first time this season last week, when they played the Spurs. I was impressed by their speed, athleticism and, surprisingly, their poise.
They dismantled the Spurs 106-84 and seemed to do it with ease. They beat the Lakers 105-95. And last night they beat the defending NBA champions, the Miami Heat, 107-100.
This Clippers team is for real.
The crazy thing is they don’t even have Grant Hill or Chauncey Billups back yet. Yeah, I know you’ll tell me they are old and blah blah blah. Hill has had nice seasons the past few, and Billups is still Mr. Big Shot. Furthermore, the Clips’ bench is stacked with depth, something the Lakers can’t say.
Chris Paul, Willie Green, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
Not bad. It doesn’t have the allure of what the Boston Big 3 had, or even what the Heat and Lakers currently have as their starters. If you read names alone, the Lakers would sound a lot better.
Here’s where the Clips really shine though:
Jamal Crawford, Chauncey Billups, Lamar Odom, Eric Bledsoe, Grant Hill, Matt Barnes, Ronny Turiaf and Ryan Hollins.
Not all of those names strike you as ballers, but Turiaf and Hollins have been active on the glass and on the defensive end, which is what they need most.
If I have one knock on the bench, it’s the lack of another scoring big man. If I was GM, I’d trade one of the swingmen for a PF or C who could put up some points.
If Odom rounds into shape, he could be that stretch PF and pay dividends. I say, don’t give him minutes at the SF position, let the athletic guys like Barnes, Hill, Butler play that position since there is a logjam. Give Odom his minutes in the front court, and hopefully he can contribute to the lack of scoring off the bench.
Bledsoe is a starter on most teams. He is only 6’1, but can throw it down, and I have seen him block shots from behind of much taller opponents, which is what he did to Dwyane Wade last night, showing his insane athleticism.
I’m not saying the Clips will win the NBA title, but L.A .better get used to the red, white. and blue colors flying in the city right alongside the purple and gold.