NBA Preview: The 2006-07 Los Angeles Clippers

It was not long ago that people referred to the Los Angeles Clippers as the Paper Clips. For years, the Clippers were one of the worst teams in the NBA. However, those days are in the rearview mirror. The Los Angeles Clippers are now one of the best teams in the NBA and no longer play second fiddle to that other L.A. team, the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Clippers finished last season with a 47-35 record, compiling their most wins in over thirty years. In addition, they made it to the NBA Playoffs for the first time in nine seasons. The Clippers beat Denver easily in the first round of the playoffs and then lost to Phoenix in a tough seven game series. Barring any key injuries, the Los Angeles Clippers should have another solid season.

The Clippers essentially have the same team that they had the year before. All of their key players are returning from last season. They did make one acquisition in the off-season, signing free agent forward Tim Thomas. Power forward Elton Brand will once again be the Clipper’s most valuable player. Brand is coming off his best season ever, when he averaged 25 points, 10 rebounds, and over 2 blocked shots per game. If there is any question mark about Elton Brand, it will be about how rested he is for this season. Brand spent the off-season playing for Team USA, in Japan, and has not had much time for his body to rest. Look for the Clippers to cut back on his playing time early in the season, so he is not run down come playoff time.

The success of the Los Angeles Clippers lies in their great inside-outside game. Elton Brand and center Chris Kaman are the heart of the inside game. Kaman is a tough big man who rebounds, blocks shots, and can score as needed. The outside game of the Clippers revolves around guards Sam Cassell and Cuttino Mobley. Both Cassell and Mobley are hustle guys that can log a lot of minutes and light it up from the outside. Cassell is also a slasher, who can get to the hoop and find the open man for easy points. Then, add Corey Maggette to the mix, and you have a talented corps of guards that can score in buckets. It is tough to double-team Brand, because the guards for the Clippers can knock down the three.

Then, add Vin Baker, Shaun Livingston, and Aaron Williams to the mix. It is not hard to see that the Los Angeles Clippers are just as deep as they are talented. With the addition of Tim Thomas, the Clippers have no shortage of talented reserves to take the floor. Head coach Mike Dunleavy should be looking forward to this NBA season. The Clippers should easily make the NBA Playoffs and have a good chance to make it to the Western Conference Finals. Their experience from last year’s playoffs should only help the Los Angeles Clippers. It’s time to file away the term paper clips, because these Clippers are as sharp as they have ever been.

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