When you think of the Clippers, what words come to mind?
Bad. Terrible. Joke.
For years, the Los Angeles Clippers have been the red-headed stepchild of the NBA. No one took them seriously. But not this year's squad. There's something different about the Clippers this year. I can't put my finger on it, but it seems like it might be a little bit of swag.
With the additions of Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler, the athletically-skilled young Clippers' roster received what they have been looking for since they drafted Michael Olowokandi with the first pick in the 1998 NBA Draft (a memory many Clippers' fans would like to forget). They were looking for a star player to take over the role as a leader on the basketball court with the skills to match.
They got just that when David Stern approved the trade to send CP3 to the City of Angels. Billups' championship pedigree is an added bonus. He is the team leader in the locker room who knows what it takes to win in the big moments.
Scooping up Butler in free agency was just the icing on the cake to add even more depth and athleticism to a frontcourt featuring two of the greatest high-fliers in the league right now—Deandre Jordan and last year's Rookie of the Year and Slam Dunk champion Blake Griffin.
At 9-6, the Clippers stand in fourth place in the Western Conference. This puts them three spots ahead of their in-city rivals, and four and a half games behind first place Oklahoma City Thunder. The game that stands out the most from their 15-game season was the overtime thriller against arguably the best team in the league—the Miami Heat.
With a combination of smart defense and explosive offense, the Clippers were able to hold off the star-studded Miami trio and take the victory at home—a win to let everyone know this team is for real.
Are championship aspirations out of the question?
They might be a bit premature being that the team has just started making this dramatic turnaround.
But with such a change in only a few years, who knows what this season has in store for this new-look Clippers team.