L.A. Clippers Stock Watch: Risers and Fallers into NBA All-Star Break
Building a dominant lead in the Pacific Division, the Los Angeles Clippers will be looking to finish off the season in prime position for a deep playoff run.
After a brutal Grammy road trip that saw the Clips escape with a 4–4 record, LAC is finally healthy, and again looks like a team that won 17 games in a row.
Chris Paul is the maestro that gets this team moving, but it has been timely contributions from role players that have made this team especially lethal.
Here is the L.A. Clippers’ stock watch, a look at Lob City risers and fallers heading into the All-Star break.
Statistics used in this article were accurate as of February 12, 2013.
7) Lamar Odom
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2012-13 Stats: 3.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, 10.08 PER
Breakdown: After finally getting into game shape, Lamar Odom is still yet to find an offensive groove on the Clippers this season.
Odom has been a solid rebounder and perhaps the team’s best big at defending the pick-and-roll, but his contributions on offense have been rather non-existent.
LO has reached double digits in scoring just once all season. He often looks to defer on offense, even when he has a scoring opportunity. With DeAndre Jordan’s inconsistent postgame, the Clips need Odom to be more aggressive this postseason.
6) Jamal Crawford
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2012-13 Stats: 17.1 PPG, 2.6 APG, 16.95 PER
Breakdown: After a blistering start to the season, Jamal Crawford finally came back to Earth.
Crawford is scoring right around his career average of 15.4 PPG. He still has a tendency to take some head-scratching shots and can dominate the ball on isolation plays, but alongside the stabilizing backcourt of Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups, Crawford has been as good as ever.
He looks comfortable with the second unit, and is again a contender for the Sixth Man Award of the Year. Crawford's ability to create his own shot will be key down the stretch.
5) Eric Bledsoe
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2012-13 Stats: 9.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.3 APG, 19.20 PER
Breakdown: Eric Bledsoe had his highs and his lows while starting for an injured Chris Paul during the last couple weeks.
In a no-show performance against the Toronto Raptors, Bledsoe scored just 10 points with three assists on 28.6 percent shooting. Later on the road trip, Bledsoe had one of his best games as a pro, scoring 27 points, and adding six rebounds and six steals in a win against the Orlando Magic.
While Bledsoe proved that he is a capable starter in this league, he appears to be more comfortable playing alongside the Clips’ dominant second unit. His ability to change pace and wreak havoc on defense has this second unit humming.
4) DeAndre Jordan
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2012-13 Stats: 9.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 16.93 PER
Breakdown: Forming one of the most athletic frontlines alongside Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan will be looking for some sustained success down the road.
While Jordan is not the low post threat that he looked like earlier in the season, he has still found ways to contribute offensively with his length and energy.
Despite his comfort and burgeoning confidence, Jordan is playing just 24.6 minutes per games, and often finds himself on the bench in crunch time. His statistics per 36 minutes better reflect his impact on the court, as he is averaging a double-double of 13.2 PPG and 10.6 RPG, per Basketball-Reference.com.
Jordan is still a liability from the free-throw line however, converting a disappointing 43.2 percent of his attempts.
The Clippers can expect some close games this postseason. If Jordan intends on playing heavy fourth quarter minutes, then he will need to tighten up his free-throw woes.
3) Chauncey Billups
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2012-13 Stats: 7.4 PPG, 2.2 APG, 12.24 PER
Breakdown: With Chauncey Billups finally healthy, the Clippers have their entire starting lineup intact for the home stretch of the season.
Billups is still rounding into game shape, dealing with lingering injuries to his foot and back. Although Billups is putting up near career low numbers, there is no denying his value on the team.
Mr. Big Shot provides a calming presence on the court. His experience and veteran savvy will be key this postseason for a franchise that has just two playoff series victories to its name.
2) Blake Griffin
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2012-13 Stats: 18.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 3.6 APG, 23.10 PER
Breakdown: Blake Griffin just continues to impress, as he prepares for his second consecutive All-Star start.
The big man has improved his midrange shooting, his defense and his playmaking skills. His newly found patience has kept him in the conversation for best all-around power forward in the NBA.
BG has also put up solid numbers against the Western Conference’s elite, key for a team determined to make a deep playoff run.
In two wins against the San Antonio Spurs, Griffin is averaging 19 PPG and 11 rebounds on 52.9 percent shooting. Against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Griffin is averaging a monster 27 PPG and 8.5 PPG. Unfortunately, the Clips have dropped both games against OKC this season.
Barring an unlikely change of events down the stretch or a first round upset, then the Clips will likely face either the Spurs or the Thunder this postseason. Griffin’s ability to perform against Serge Ibaka or Tim Duncan will be instrumental this spring.
1) Chris Paul
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2012-13 Stats: 16.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 9.5 APG, 26.61 PER
Breakdown: With Chris Paul in the lineup, the Clippers are among the most prolific teams in the NBA.
The All-NBA point guard is perhaps the game's best playmaker, and has a knack for knowing exactly what his team needs. Whether it is involving his big men early, getting steals or finishing off the opposition in crunch time, Paul seems to always come through.
Lob City’s 6–6 record without Paul in the lineup is a testament to his value to the team. The Clippers will go as far as Paul takes them. His health is a necessity come playoff time.
When CP3 is on the court, the Clippers cannot be counted out of any contest.