While some of us have been spending our summer at the beach, or catching the latest adventures of the beloved Honey Boo-Boo Child, the Los Angeles Clippers organization has been doing quite the opposite. The off-season for the fans was meant to recuperate from the fast-paced, shortened season, but for the Clippers it meant improvement.
The Los Angeles Clippers opened training camp on Saturday, September 29, 2012, which was a few days earlier than most teams, because they are preparing for their upcoming exhibition games in China. To them it felt like the first day of school, only with much more excitement, media, and NBA All-Stars.
The Clippers had an extremely busy summer beginning with the long-term extension of the organization’s top priority player, Blake Griffin. Following that, the Clippers resigned seasoned veteran, Chauncey Billups, and aggressively upgraded the roster with the additions of Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Willie Green, Ryan Hollins, and Ronny Turiaf.
The once a punch-line team is proving that they belong in the running for an appearance in the playoffs and possibly the finals, with their great mix of young players, veterans, experience, and undeniable depth.
The bench was not the only aspect that the Clippers have been focusing on, but also the health of some of their star players. Blake Griffin, who underwent knee surgery due to a tear in his meniscus, announced that he is 100% ready to go. However, starting backcourt players, Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups are still recovering from their surgeries. Paul, who had thumb surgery during the summer, is expected back sooner than Billups, who underwent surgery on his Achilles’ tendon during the 2011-2012 season.
Even though on the sideline during scrimmages, Paul and Billups were still able to participate in some of the drills at practice, and definitely showed excitement in their new roster.
While the media ravished upon the fresh faces, Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan faced one of their biggest on-court demons…Free throws. Last season, after air balls, bricks, and being made a mockery of over their shooting, or lack thereof, Clippers big men decided to make some changes. Hiring new shooting coach, Bob Thate, Griffin and Jordan have been working with Thate all summer, and feel confident that their shot has improved.
From the perspective of the players and coaches, it looks as if this revamped Clippers team is ready to set sail in the right direction.