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Vegas Win Total Projection: 55.5 (VegasInsider.com)
The debacle of a series against the Houston Rockets and the beginning free-agency woes are certainly behind this Clippers team. After losing DeAndre Jordan to free-agency and then getting him back in the same offseason, the Clippers also went out and added Doc River's other son Paul Pierce. This team is projected to win 55.5 games this season, which I think is low. They are getting everyone back as well as adding Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, Wesley Johnson, and DeAndre Jordan (kind of). With a lot of people picking them to go to the Finals, they certainly on paper look to be the deepest team in the West. I don't know if they beat the Golden State Warriors, but they certainly have a shot in the regular season to win over 6 games. With Chris Paul, arguably the best point guard in the league, DeAndre Jordan, one of the best defensive centers in the league, and Blake Griffin, an electric, athletic power forward, I really like the core of this team. If anything, they're the most entertaining team in the league to watch.
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You could go a lot of ways with this team, but I just love Chris Paul. I think he is the best true point guard in this league, he creates for teammates and with the teammates he has now, it should make things even easier for Paul to rack up his double-double and triple-double stat lines. Last season, his line was 19 points, 10 assists, and 5 rebounds per game. I expect these numbers to stay the same or maybe even increase with the added talent to this already great roster. At 30 years old, Paul is certainly not out of his prime, especially with the way he plays. Chris doesn't use much athleticism or physically daunting moves that won't age with the player, therefore I don't see as much of a drop-off as someone like LeBron who uses his physical side more, relying on that to give him his stat line. I see Chris Paul having an MVP type season, he's not my MVP pick, but I think if the Clippers end up in the Finals or with one of the two best records in the league, it wouldn't be out of the question. As a daily fantasy player, just make sure Paul is healthy and playing a team that will stick around for all 4 quarters.
Both Josh Smith and Paul Pierce are going to be highly regarded because of their previous playing years. Both are out of their primes and will most likely get rotational minutes at most. I don't see either being a huge contributor, playing 20 minutes a night, and providing a spark off the bench is what I see for both of these players. Now, if their is an injury on this team, that'll be the time to pick up a player like Pierce or Smith. But besides an injury or a good match up, I don't see either of these players making a huge impact in fantasy.
There has been a rumor swirling since early September that Wesley Johnson could be the starter or high rotation player for the L.A. Clippers. If this is true, he could be an excellent grab in most daily fantasy sites. Johnson has been a good wing contributor throughout his NBA tenure, but his role is most likely going to be different in a variety of ways from seasons past. Only a 35% 3 point shooter, Johnson is more prolific with a mid-range shot or a layup, but he also does fairly well rebounding the ball at 4.2 per game. With Chris Paul to dish him the ball and so many other offensive weapons, I think Johnson will have a better opportunity to make open shots, so all he has to do is make them.
They were a win away from getting to the Conference finals and giving the Golden State Warriors a supposed better run for their money. This season, I think Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, and company are coming with a chip on their shoulders trying to get to the Conference finals this time around. They were right behind Golden State, 2nd in the NBA in offense, while 16th on defense. I expect them to make improvements both offensively and defensively, but do not expect those statistical rankings to change too much. Where I do see change is in rebounds per game, where they ranked 20th in the league last season. This season, expect that number to be close to 10th. With the additions all around and DeAndre Jordan back, that number should increase and they should be averaging close to 48 rebounds per game. Although they have the assists leader, in Chris Paul on their team, they were ranked 3rd in the league with 24.8 assists. I think this number is bound to go up, giving the amount of talent and depth from 1 through 10. Overall, I see a very competitive Western Conference team in the L.A. Clippers who will look to make right from last seasons playoff woes.