Can the Los Angeles Clippers Contend?

6/30/12 in NBA   |   AJ_88   |   166 respect

The question following a successful season is always the same: Can they continue to improve and perhaps advance? With the Los Angeles Clippers, that has only been asked once before over the last decade, when they previously took a trip to the Western Conference Semifinals in 2006. They regressed. And then regressed a little further. 

But last season was a magical one. Chris Paul now dons the red, white and blue. Blake Griffin is only getting better. Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups provide the stabilizing veteran presence required for any team vying to drastically improve. With the addition of Lamar Odom, former Sixth Man of the Year and two-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers have a sound, well put together squad entering the 2012-'13 campaign. 

April 11, 2012; Oklahoma City  OK, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) brings the ball up court with Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRESurrounding Paul with shooters and defense will allow this team to take the next step toward that elusive title, to perhaps add a banner to Staples Center that isn't purple and gold. The Clippers have long been the ugly duckling tenants, however, their success this past season and the expected continued success will allow this squad to rid themselves of the dirty cloak and start to shine in the city of angels. 

Nick Young and Randy Foye could both return, giving the Clippers extended depth in the 'shooter' department, while Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans figure to seek a multi-year deal, which the Clippers just cannot afford. DeAndre Jordan's continued development at the Center positon will prove vital to the Clippers future. Seeking out a former All-star center like David Robinson (because he's a lefty) or Hakeem Olajuwan could be the difference in his continued growth as an offensive weapon. 

Put together all the pieces and you have a team that can contend with the best in the Western Conference. Well, that is if Coach Vinny Del Negro doesn't find a way to mess things up. Paul and Griffin want to take the Clippers to new, unforeseen heights. Owner, Donald Sterling is willing to do what it takes to keep them in Los Angeles long-term as well. When he sees dollar signs, rest assured he will get what he wants. 
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