Clippers ’10-11 Preview
30 teams in 30 days.
by Seth Ferranti
The Paper Clips have had a regime change, finally. With longtime GM Elgin Baylor out a couple of years ago and now his usurper, Mike Dunleavy, being shown the door, the Clips are ready to move in a new direction. But unfortunately Donald Sterling the Clippers erstwhile owner is still around. Too bad he can’t be fired. Under his direction the team have been perennial losers. A change in ownership might be what it takes to lift the cruse and reverse the fortunes of this long suffering franchise. But with that not happening anytime soon, new coach Vinny Del Negro and GM Neil Olshey will do their best to right the ship and get the Clippers sails blowing in the right direction.
I am trying to temper my enthusiasm for the upcoming season but it is hard. Still I have to remember the failures of the past. The last two years I have predicted big things for my Paper Clips — 50 wins, the Playoffs, All-Star appearances — only for them to fall on their faces. With the Elton Brand free agent fiasco, the Dunleavy/BDavis feuds and the Blake Griffin injury it hasn’t been pretty in Clipper Nation but I am an ever faithful fan. Could this finally be the year it all comes together? The potential is there but there are still more questions than answers. Does Vinny Del Negro’s offensive schemes suit the Clip’s players? Can Baron Davis and the new coach co-exist and flourish together? Will Blake Griffin stay injury free and fulfill his promise as a player? Can Eric Gordon, coming off the FIBA World Championship gold medal performance up the stakes and become an All Star this year? Can Chris “Caveman” Kamen maintain the same level of play as Griffin and Gordon start carrying more of the offensive load? All these questions will be answered and if they are answered in the affirmative than the Paper Clips will prosper. But in the negative, well you know the routine, it won’t be any different than years past.
With Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Rasual Butler, Blake Griffin and Chris Kamen the Clips have a nice and potentially explosive starting unit. With the bench bolstered by Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes along with holdovers DeAndre Jordan, Brian Cook and Craig Smith and the new rookies Eric Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu and Willie Warren, the second unit looks decent. Though not an overpowering bunch they are serviceable and should be able to hold down the fort. But like I said before my enthusiasm is tempered. I try not to look in the rear view mirror but I hope the Clips are moving in the right direction and by that I mean the layoffs.
With new uniforms and a new coach who stresses a commitment to good defense the Clips will have a chance to be a .500 team, 40 wins are attainable. The west is not the powerhouse it was in the last couple of years as a lot of good players have gone back east to ply their trades. Still the Lakers, the Clip’s Staples Center housemate, are still the barometer of greatness in the west. Do I think the Clip’s can take the Lakers? No. But do I think they have the potential to grow as a team that could challenge the Lakers? Yes. But a lot has to go right and with the Clippers so much usually goes wrong. So I will keep my fingers crossed.
The squad is lined with young talent and skill but that does not win games in the NBA. If the team buys into Del Negro’s system they have a chance to be middle of the pack. It hinges on Baron Davis’ desire to perform, Blake Griffin’s development and Eric Gordon’s growth. The foundation is there, now it’s time to let it incubate, grow and prosper. I like the Clip’s chances because hope does spring eternal and it is a brand new season so anything can happen. I don’t go with the naysayers and projections of doom but I am also cognizant of the failures of the past. With the regular season opener against the Portland Trail Blazers on national TV there are a lot of reasons to be excited. Let’s hope that the Clips can reverse the curse and lead the Clipper Nation faithful to the Playoffs.
Seth Ferranti is the author of three books: PRISON STORIES, STREET LEGENDS VOL 1 and 2. He also writes for Don Diva, Urban Celebrity, Get Money and Feds magazines. You can also read his work on many websites and his blog at gorillaconvict.com. Seth writes about prison gangs, urban authors, life in the belly of the beast and the mafia. Check out his work at gorillaconvict.com and order his true crime books there also.
Previous Season Previews can be found in the archive.