Los Angeles Clippers: Yes, They Can

Gem JeffersonSenior Analyst IJuly 4, 2008

Can the Los Angeles Clippers make the playoffs?  Yes, they can. And yes, they will.

The Clippers have reportedly agreed to terms with point guard Baron Davis, a bona fide scorer and passer. 

If Elton Brand remains a man of his word and signs with the Clippers—leaving $20 million on the table to do so—the Clippers become a perennial playoff team overnight.

With Brand and Davis, the Clippers gain one of the strongest one-two punches in the league.  There may not be a more formidable guard-forward combination than these two.

The acquisition of Davis also relieves the younger players on board. 

Al Thornton, who blossomed in the latter half of the season, will now be the team's third option, which will allow him to progress at his own pace as he is on course to be a star in the NBA.

The Clippers had a very solid draft as well, acquiring Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan, and Mike Taylor.

Eric Gordon will be an All-Star—it is just a matter of time.  He's a play maker; he's a great knockdown shooter and an underrated passer who gets to learn from one of the better scoring guards in the league in Baron Davis.

DeAndre Jordan may have some undeveloped skills, but he's a freak of an athlete who can jump out of the building.  He'll be playing behind the new Olympian, Chris Kaman, who will show him how to play effectively on the ground, move his feet, and be a solid defender.

Mike Taylor is a solid ball player who can do a bit of everything and will find his way into the rotation with perseverance and heart—a forgotten intangible in young players.

The Clips still have Cuttino Mobley, Brevin Knight, Tim Thomas, and a bit of maneuvering room to grab a last second contributor or two off the free agent market. 

If healthy, Mobley is a solid contributor on both ends of the floor, most noticeably as a knockdown shooter.  Thomas, if he finds his stroke, can shoot from anywhere beyond half court and Knight is a solid on the ball defender and excellent passer.

The Clippers will have some roster spaces if they do not re-sign their current free agents.  Regardless of who they bring in, LA should be a lock for the playoffs if they can just stay healthy.

The Clippers have a legitimate shot to be more than "the other team" in Los Angeles this year.