By: Connor McCann
With the first month of the NBA season in the books, there’s not much to do yet besides overreact to things that we’ve seen so far. Some people might think of this next statement as an overreaction, but I’m completely serious about it. So since some some might think this statement is absolutely ludicrous, I’m going to take a short wait so you can drink some water and then proceed to spit it out. …. Waiting …. Got it? Good. Here it goes: The Los Angeles Clippers are the best team in the NBA. You spit it out? I thought so. Go clean yourself up and continue reading.
Now hear me out. Only twelve games have been played, so it may be a tad early to be jumping to conclusions like this, but it’s hard to say that they haven’t been the most dominant team in the league so far. Their record sits at 10-2, which is good enough for first place in the tough Western Conference. The team is putting up 109 points a game and only giving up 94, and that +15-point differential is the best in the entire NBA. In fact, their scoring differential of +183 through their first eleven games is actually better than that of the 2015-16 Warriors (+179).
It’s not like the Clippers are taking advantage of an easy schedule to start their season, They’ve beaten the Trail Blazers twice, the Spurs by 30+ in San Antonio, and a very good Jazz team. In fact, the only two teams that the Clippers have lost to, the Thunder and Grizzlies, they have beaten them once this season as well.
The question that has to be on everybody’s mind must be “The Clippers have been good but never great for years now, how are they this good now?” The biggest key for this team has been their defense. They are first in the NBA in scoring defense and first as well in opponent’s field goal percentage. Chris Paul is averaging three steals a game, and DeAndre Jordan is his usual defensive-anchor-self down low in the paint.
The bench play is another huge factor this season, as defensively, the Clippers second unit is just as good as its starting five. Additions like Mo Speights and Raymond Felton have worked wonders, especially Felton. My favorite part about that move is it allows Austin Rivers to play at the shooting guard spot, which I have always felt was where he was meant to play.
At the end of the day however, we are still talking about the Clippers. They could go 74-8 this season but would not be taken seriously until they show some playoff success. This is still a team that hasn’t gotten passed the second round of the playoffs in the history of the franchise, but I’m going to go out on a limb and expect that to change this year.
(Featured Image: Ken Lund, Flickr)