2008 NBA Preview: #25 Los Angeles Clippers

Offseason Movement: Much has been written about the Clippers tumultuous summer. Out are franchise cornerstones Elton Brand and Corey Maggette and in are Baron Davis and Marcus Camby. For a while, it looked as if Davis would join Brand to give the Clippers a formidable one-two punch, but Brand elected to sign a big deal with the Sixers after the Clippers’ front office apparently ruffled the feathers of Brand’s agent, David Falk. The Clippers recovered (somewhat) by stealing Marcus Camby away from the Nuggets in a salary dump.
Keep Your Eye On: Eric Gordon, G
The team took Gordon #7 overall in the 2008 draft, and with Maggette gone, there’s a lot of opportunity for playing time. Cuttino Mobley provides a veteran presence at off guard, but if Gordon shows maturity, he could usurp the vet before season’s end.
The Big Question: Will Brand’s departure doom the Clippers to mediocrity?
The Clippers are now featuring a 29 year-old oft-injured point guard (Davis) alongside two centers, Camby and Chris Kaman. While the Camby deal was a savvy one, I’m not sure how he and Kaman are going to play alongside each other in today’s smaller-is-better NBA. The youth movement consists of Al Thornton (who was decent in his rookie season) and Gordon. The Clippers are going to need great play out of both of those players to be a factor in the Western Conference playoff race.
Outlook: Grim. There seems to be a rain cloud over the franchise now that Brand is gone. Davis is their best player and he’s almost 30 and hasn’t had much success in the playoffs. With the current roster, the Clippers will be competitive, but unless they really gel or one of their young players (Thornton or Gordon) turns into an All-Star caliber player, it’s highly doubtful that the Clips will be fighting for a playoff spot come April.

Check out our NBA Preview page for a look at every team. We’ll be posting three previews per business day, which will take us up to the start of the season on Tuesday, October 28th.

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