The Los Angeles Clippers are absolutely infuriating.
I personally spent a large chunk of the NBA offseason criticizing their roster and many of the moves they made; I simply didn’t believe they were a contender, or even a viable powerhouse for that matter.
But then the season began. Los Angeles was 8-2, Chris Paul was being Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford was having out of body experiences on a nightly basis and DeAndre Jordan’s post game actually wasn’t laughable. And by that point, I was a believer.
I sang the praises of the Clippers, essentially declaring that they were a dominant entity that wasn’t going anywhere, that, for the first time in over a decade, they were a team to place our faith in.
Well, part of living is being able to admit you’re wrong—and I was certainly wrong. To an extent.
Since opening the season by winning eight of their firs 10 games, the Clippers are 2-4, one of those losses having come against a depleted New Orleans Hornets team. And now, suddenly, they don’t seem as powerful anymore.
Because they’re not a legitimate powerhouse. Not yet.
The good news is that this team has a top 10 offense and defense. Jordan’s post game is still easy on the eyes, Paul is still Paul, and Crawford is still having the best year of his career.
And yet, the Clippers still aren’t a dominant team; they’re not a squad you can just assume will win. They are letting games get away from them down the stretch, and despite an relatively impressive record, boast one of the most fragile rosters in the league.
Again, this is not to say Los Angeles is a broken franchise, because they aren’t. But right now, they aren’t a team like the Oklahoma City Thunder or Miami Heat; they aren’t what people—myself included—originally made them out to be. Simply put, the Clippers are still a wild card, a fringe contender.
We’d like to believe that Los Angeles has what it takes to come out of the Western Conference. We’d even like to say that they measure up to a team like the Heat.
But we can’t, because they don’t. They are winning games, that’s for sure, but not at as high a rate as most of the league’s contenders. They’ve also proven to be too much of a hot and cold convocation. Sure, they have a six game winning streak under their belt less than 20 games into the season, but they also have a four game skid to their credit as well.
And it’s this very inconsistency that separates them from the Heat, Thunder or even Memphis Grizzlies. Until Paul and company can prove that they can win a bounty of games consistently—especially the ones they’re supposed to—buying into them as a legitimate powerhouse is premature and shortsighted.
Yes, all contenders have flaws, but they’re expected to win consistently in spite of them. The Clippers have yet to do that; they have yet to prove they’re ready to deviate from their roller coaster ways.
Which essentially means, that for now, contending for a championship, like actually contending for a championship, is out of reach.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.