Los Angeles Clippers Predictions

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After advancing to the second round of the playoffs in the first year after landing elite point guard Chris Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers came into the 2012-13 season with some serious expectations. While the Clippers would fail at their ultimate goal of an NBA Championship, they set a franchise record for wins with a mark of 56-26. Los Angeles was eliminated in the first round of the postseason by the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Clippers greatly increased their chances of capturing an NBA title when they were able to lure Doc Rivers away from Boston to become the new head coach. Rivers is one of only four active head coaches in the NBA who has a ring on his resume.

Last Season
Pacific
Overall Record
ATS Record
Over/Under
Draft Grade
1st
56-26
45-37
45-37
B+
2013-2014 Depth Chart
Position Starter 2nd 3rd
Point Guard Chris Paul
Darren Collison Maalik Wayns
Shooting Guard J.J. Redick
Jamal Crawford Willie Green
Small Forward Jared Dudley
Matt Barnes Reggie Bullock
Power Forward Blake Griffin
Byron Mullens Antawn Jamison
Center DeAndre Jordan
Ryan Hollins

Los Angeles also had a pretty promising offseason when it comes to their roster. They did lose a couple key contributors in backup point guard Eric Bledsoe and starting small forward Caron Butler, but there’s a lot to be excited about with the new additions of J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Darren Collison, Byron Mullens and Antawn Jamison.

Collison might not be as athletic as Bledsoe was coming off the bench, but he’s a better passer and has a ton of experience to fall back on. He’s started 219 games over his four-year career. However, the Clippers are hoping Collison doesn’t have to play too many minutes, as it’s no secret this team will go as far as Paul will take them.

One of the top priorities was to load up on shooters who can stretch the defense and feed off opposing teams doubling Paul and Griffin. Los Angeles appears to have done just that with Redick and Dudley, who both are expected to step in and start right away. The addition of Redick can’t be overlooked, as it allows Jamal Crawford to remain in his role as one of the top six men in the league.

Griffin and DeAndre Jordan former a nice 1-2 punch down low. Griffin provides the offense and Jordan protects the rim and cleans up on the boards. If Griffin can continue to mature his game offensively and Jordan can improve his free throw shooting, the Clippers are going to be very difficult to contend with. While they added in Mullens and Jamison to provide some depth behind Griffin, there’s definitely some concerns with Ryan Hollins as the backup center.

Schedule Breakdown

Not only do the Clippers have the talent to be one of the best teams in the Western Conference, they have a very favorable schedule. The Clippers break even (1 & 1) when it comes to the number of games they benefit or go up against a team in the always difficult fourth game in five nights.

Looking at rest vs no rest, Los Angeles catches quite a break. They don’t have a single game all season that they will be playing on no rest against an opponent on more than one day of rest. On the flip side of this, they face off against nine teams in this spot.

The end result is a +9 aggregate in the schedule advantage/disadvantage department, which is the best of any team in the West and second only to the Bulls (+11). Clippers fans will be happy to know that the rival Lakers are tied with the Kings for the worst aggregate at -9.

Full Schedule: ESPN

Scheduling Advantage/Disadvantage
4-in-5 +/-
Rest vs No Rest +/-
Aggregate +/-
Ease of Schedule Rank
0
9
9
2nd
Odds (Courtesy of Bovada)
Over/Under Win Total
to Win the Western Conference
to Win the NBA Finals
55.5
5 to 1
9 to 1
Predictions

Even though the Warriors advanced deeper in the playoffs than the Clippers and bolstered their roster with the likes of Andre Igoudala, the Clippers remain the team to beat in the Pacific. Los Angeles finished nine games ahead of Golden State last year and unlike the Warriors, the Clippers are a legit threat to make the NBA Finals and put an end to the Heat’s attempt at a three-peat.

If this team can win 56 games with Del Negro in charge, I’m taking the over 55.5 on the Clippers win total for the 2013-14 season. Rivers will get the best out of what I feel is an improved roster and I believe he will turn a very good defense into a great defense.

Defending their Pacific Division title or exceeding last year’s franchise-record 56 wins won’t matter if the Clippers fail to make a deep run into the playoffs. Anything less than an appearance in the Western Conference Finals would be considered a disappointment. As long as this team can avoid that devastating injury to one of their superstars, they have the depth and coaching to make 2013-14 a memorable season.

Projections
Pacific Division Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Projection
1st
12-4
59-21
Over
55.5
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