The Clippers might end up representing the West in the NBA Finals this year. They still need to play better on both sides of the ball, but it seems like they are finally working on all cylinders.
The Clippers are not exactly a complete team yet, but with a couple of moves they could find their way into the NBA Finals—and maybe shock the world by bringing a red and blue banner to the Staples Center that is filled with purple and gold banners.
Mo Williams is a great point guard and would be a starter for at least 10 to 12 teams in the NBA—but not for the Clippers.
Williams is behind both Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups, two guards that are better fit for the Clippers than Williams is. Keeping Williams on the bench is good for depth at the point guard position, but it is not necessary when both Randy Foye and Eric Bledsoe are also back up guards who could be starters on other teams—just ask the Lakers.
The ideal trade would be the Clippers sending Mo Williams to the Utah Jazz for Paul Millsap.
Millsap would provide the Clippers with more depth down low—which is something they need because Brian Cook is only a threat to himself. Millsap would also be more than helpful when Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan are on the bench getting some rest.
Disclaimer: This trade is only speculated, there has not been talk between the Jazz and Clippers for this move.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Clippers are interested in bringing over Kenyon Martin.
Kenyon Martin will be back in the NBA in March once his stint in China is over. The Clippers' interest should not come as a surprise because they need a wily veteran and someone who can help crash the boards when Griffin and Jordan are out.
Martin would also provide some more toughness along with much needed depth.
With or without a trade for Paul Millsap, the Clippers should definitely try hard to sign Kenyon Martin as soon as possible.
Update: According to Pro Basketball Talk, the Clippers are going to offer Kenyon Martin a mini mid-level deal of $2.5 million.
In the past, it seemed like there was a trend that the least flashy teams were the ones winning in the finals.
The Spurs are about as flashy as a disco ball with no batteries, the Lakers and Celtics are very calculated and the Mavericks and Heat that won in 2010 and 2006 respectively are teams that were full of wily non-flashy veterans.
As much as the Clippers love to dunk and throw beautiful alley-oops to each other during games, it might not equal championships. The Clippers need to play stronger inside with their amazing frontcourt and utilize the great talent they have in their backcourt by setting up open shots for their deadly shooters.
One should expect the Clippers to get much more serious when the playoffs come around—this would greatly benefit them as a team.
This is a move the Clippers should not make this year, but it is a move that might need to happen.
Donald Sterling brought in Del Negro because he was cost efficient—what Sterling did not realize is that he would have a championship-caliber team built up in 2012.
Del Negro has a career 47.9 winning percentage—the Clippers deserve better than that. When Tom Thibodeau took over for the Bulls the year after Del Negro was fired, the Bulls won 21 more games and Derrick Rose won the MVP of the league.
The proof is in the numbers, and unless Del Negro figures out a way to get the best out of the squad he has now, he should not be expected to coach the Clippers for much longer.
Re-signing players are key moves that teams need to make whenever possible and probable.
In the summer of 2014, both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will be free agents—the Clippers should not let it get to this point. Griffin and Paul are going to be one of the best duos in NBA history if they keep their already young success going.
No one in the Clippers' organization or fanbase would want a Dwight Howard or LeBron James saga to occur for them. Locking up Paul and Griffin for long-term contracts will keep the Clippers from big distractions—it would also attract free agents that would want to play for the Clippers.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul could make Los Angeles remember the days of Kobe and Shaq, but on a less dramatic scale.
The Clippers are slowly making progress in becoming one of the NBA’s elite teams. They have some moves to make, and once they are made, they will be contenders for years to come.
Don’t be too surprised if you see the Lakers and Clippers consistently fighting in the Western Conference Finals for years to come.
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