#3 The Los Angeles Clippers

Luhh me some Chris Paul. Luhh me some lob city. In fact, the real winner of the offseason might have been Los Angeles Clippers fans finally saying goodbye to the madness and senility and out-and-out racism from the creepy Donald Sterling and saying hello to the god-bless-him he’s trying to be cool Steve Ballmer. The sale was for a pretty cool $2 Billion and represents a nice rallying point and moment of relief for this franchise.

And let’s not forget that this blowup happened in round 1 of the playoffs when the Clippers were going head to head with a very scrappy Golden State Warriors squad. The Clippers rallied to win that series, even after a scary moment when it looked like most of the team’s key players were threatening not to suit up. And even after that, it took a Game 7 in Los Angeles that came right down to the final moment before the Clips could put the Warriors to bed. (Excellent recap of the 7 games here.)  Lob City then went on to lose a very close series with the Thunder with the last 3 games decided by a mere 9 points.

This is still a very, very fun team to watch. Fast-paced, fast break, transition points, DUNK DUNK DUNK!!! And also deadly shooters like JJ Redick and Jamal Crawford surrounding Paul, who led the league in assists but may have to contend with a full season of healthy Rajon Rondo.

Blake Griffin is a boss. And because there’s something, just something about him that makes people think of him as kind of a bitch, he’s always on the verge of some fight or taking a hard foul from some prankster. Until he dunks on them. He has become much more than that, though, working with Chris Paul in the pick-and-roll and shooting from the elbows. Its safe to say that he’s still working towards his ceiling and he’ll likely be even better this year.

The whole team could improve significantly this season under another year from their coach. Locking up Doc Rivers was another way to ensure continuity for a team and management that wanted nothing to do with their owner. And retaining the services of a top 5 coach who could go a long way towards molding Deandre Jordan and this subpar defensive group into real championship contenders.

X-Factor= Chris Paul. I gotta say it. This is one of my favorite players to watch and the unquestioned leader of this team. A lot of this comes down to health but Paul possesses the handling and court vision to be the best point guard in the NBA yet again.

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