There's a lot of expectation surrounding this year's NBA season in Los Angeles.
And I'm not talking about the Lakers.
Clippers fans having never been more excited for a season than the one forthcoming.
And for good reason.
We've finally got a contender.
What follows are 10 predictions for this year's Clippers team. Some of these may surprise you, but I assure you, they're spot on. Here are 10 things that will happen in 2011-12.
Let's face it. I know we're all excited about this coming year; however, this team is cursed. So, if the Clippers are going to contend, which I believe they will, they better be deep, because at least one key player is going down early, and going down for the year.
It happens every year to our Clippers.
However, so long as said injured person is not Eric Gordon or Blake Griffin, I believe the Clippers can overcome it.
This is why it's important for the Clippers to keep both Kaman and Jordan. This gives them the deepest front line in the league.
With a bench consisting of: Kaman, Foye, Bledsoe, Aminu, Gomes, and the Rhino, this Clippers team will be able to sustain the loss of a Mo Williams or DeAndre Jordan, and still make the playoffs.
But trust me, someone will go down; so they better be prepared.
I can't remember the last time the Clippers had two All-Stars in the same season.
In fact, they never have.
This year they will.
Blake Griffin will be voted as a starter to the NBA All-Star game, and his pal, Eric Gordon, will make the team as well.
This is the best under-25 tandem in the league, and yes, I'm well aware of Durant and Westbrook. In 2011, Gordon and Griffin will outdo Durant and Westbrook.
This past year was Gordon's breakout year.
It was really the first time that any of us believed he could be anything more than just a slightly better than average starter.
Now, he has us believing he can do anything.
He's one of the hardest workers on the team (the other being Griffin), he's a leader, he's got confidence, he can go to the hole and get to the line, and he can drill it from deep.
What can't Eric Gordon do offensively?
Last year, at the time he went down with injury, he was No. 8 in the league in scoring and picking up steam.
With teams doubling Griffin down low, expect Gordon's numbers to soar this year.
He'll average 25 ppg, while getting to the line 7-10 times a game.
Sky's the limit on this guy.
Until this past season, the most exciting part of any Clipper game was watching Clipper Darryl, in his blue and red suit, as he led the modest crowd in cheers and chants.
Clipper Darryl has been the Clippers' No. 1 supporter for as long as I can remember.
Clipper Darryl can be heard from the upper deck at Staples Center; the man has pipes.
Also, it's typically pretty quiet in Clipperland, so sometimes you can hear a pin drop.
This past year, Clipper Darryl took his act a bit further and learned just about every dance performed by the Clipper's Spirit girls (the hottest cheerleaders in the NBA).
This year, with Clipper Darryl is getting up there in age, I expect he'll pull a groin and cough up his spleen while trying to keep up with the Spirit girls.
However, being the gamer he is, I bet he finishes the game.
Keep it up, Clipper Darryl.
In high school, I remember watching Jerome Lane go up and dunk one-handed, and bring down the backboard.
I went absolutely nuts after seeing this, and my friends and I recreated the scene for weeks after.
The shattered backboard is the most awesome play in all of sports.
And not since Darryl Dawkins and Shaq has there been a man who's dunked harder than DeAndre Jordan.
DeAndre isn't the biggest or strongest, but the man can get up, and he can throw down. And because he can't shoot the ball, he's guaranteed to try to throw down anytime he gets it within eight feet of the rim.
It's only a matter of time until one of those backboards comes down.
Blake Griffin is one of the best offensive rebounders the game has seen in quite a while.
He not only seems to know where the ball is going, but much like Kevin Love and Dennis Rodman, he is willing to throw his body into danger in order to get the rebound.
With his incredible ups, strong hands, nose for the ball and hustle, Blake is destined to lead the league in offensive boards at least a few times in his career.
As mentioned before, this is the most excited Clippers fans have been in a very long time.
Therefore, it's almost a guarantee that something will go wrong with this season.
Because Clippers fans never get what they want.
We're cursed...or haven't you heard?
The lockout is upon us, and as long as Clippers fans are rooting for the season to start, it won't. We're going to miss some games.
So, Clippers fans, if you really want to see Blake and Co. dominate in 2011, then put it as far out of your mind as possible, and maybe the curse will lift.
Until then, there will be no Clippers basketball in 2011.
Last year we hoped for LeBron, or maybe Rudy Gay.
We got Ryan Gomes.
I like Ryan Gomes, but let's be honest, he's the weak link on the team, and is not qualified to start in the NBA.
Especially on a contender, which is what the Clippers want to be.
Therefore, the Clippers need to sign a small forward again this year. But don't be expecting one of the marquee names (Caron Butler, Shane Battier, Tayshaun Prince).
It won't happen.
We want it to.
But it won't.
Because we're not making the decisions.
The Donald is.
And The Donald doesn't like to part ways with his money.
Last year, thanks to Blake Griffin, the Clippers averaged 17,742 fans per game, which was good enough for 14th in the league. Attendance was dramatically higher in the second half of the season.
Blake fever has hit Los Angeles, and the Blakers are the sexiest ticket in town.
Sure, Kobe is still King, but his reign is nearly over, and Blake is poised to take the throne.
I don't know when this season will start, but when it does, I'm predicting 20,000 per game for the Clippers.
2010 was a banner year. The Clippers had the Rookie of the Year, an All-Star, the ESPY's break-out star, and the slam dunk champion (granted all those awards went to the same person, but still...)
2011 will be the year the Clippers get back to the playoffs.
No more playing for next year. This year is The year.
Yes, the Clippers will make the playoffs, and they won't roll over for their opponent once they get there.
2011...we can't wait!