The 6 Most Pivotal Players for the L.A. Clippers in 2012-13

Ehran Khan@@ekhansworldContributor IIIOctober 18, 2012

The 6 Most Pivotal Players for the L.A. Clippers in 2012-13

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    With so much roster turnover from last season, the Los Angeles Clippers' rotation will look nothing like it did in 2012. Holdovers from last year's squad will be playing slightly different roles, and the new crop of veterans coming on board will have roles they may not be accustomed to as well.

    Two guys whose roles won't be changing? Chris Paul and Blake Griffin—the team's superstar spine. Click through to see who will be the six most crucial Clippers in 2013.

    Note: Just keep in mind that just because one player is ranked as more important than another, it does not mean that he is the better player.

6. Caron Butler

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    There's no doubt that Caron Butler is important to the team's success, but it may not be for the reason you think.

    Butler's hallmark throughout his career has been his scoring ability. On a Clippers team loaded with guys who can put the ball in the basket, Butler's biggest contribution will come on the defensive end, where he will have to match up with the likes of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant on a nightly basis come playoff time.

5. Jamal Crawford

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    Jamal Crawford will be called upon to fill the void left by Mo Williams as the team's reliable third scorer. It's universally known that he has the ability—it's just a matter of whether his efficiency will bounce back to career norms after dipping severely last season.

    The other thing that the Clippers will count on Crawford to provide is setting up scoring opportunities for teammates. Last year, the Clips put the entire burden of creating shots on Chris Paul. If Crawford can be a supplemental creator, then defenses will no longer be able to focus all their attention on Paul.

4. Lamar Odom

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    The Clippers were hurt by their lack of big-man depth at the beginning of last season. They were saved when Reggie Evans and Kenyon Martin joined the team and actually relied on the two veteran reserves in the playoffs.

    Lamar Odom will step into the hole left by the two departing bigs. It's a role that Odom perfected with the Lakers. If he's got something left in the tank, he can be a huge factor coming off the bench and may regularly finish games in place of the next man on the list.

3. DeAndre Jordan

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    Practically everyone on the Clippers is a known commodity at this point. The one big wild card that the Clips possess is Jordan, who has the athletic ability to completely change games at the defensive end.

    If Jordan can stay disciplined on defense and play with sound fundamentals to go along with his terrific rebounding and shot-blocking skills, he can be Tyson Chandler-like and anchor a Clippers defense that was suspect a season ago.

2. Blake Griffin

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    There is still room for Blake Griffin to grow as a basketball player, and Clippers fans fervently hope that he will tap into more of his scintillating potential in 2013.

    Griffin has already established himself as one of the few 20-10 players in the league and playing alongside the game's top point guard makes him the NBA's most devastating force around the basket.

    If Griffin can just keep defenses honest with his jumper and convert more of his free-throw attempts, the Clippers offense will be on the brink of invincibility.

1. Chris Paul

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    There is perhaps no player in the entire league more important to his team than Chris Paul.

    Not only is CP3 the best player on the Clippers, he controls everything that the Clippers do. His feisty competitiveness permeates the entire locker room. It seems like some nights he can literally will the team to victory.

    Without Paul's leadership and offensive creativity, the Clips would be on the fringes of playoff contention.

    With Paul in the fold, the Clippers are one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA.