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This Season Could Be The Clippers’ Last Chance

Clippers blake griffin deandre jordan

There are few teams in the NBA that boast a stronger core of players than the Los Angeles Clippers, as Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan form the nucleus of a potentially dominant team. Despite consistently entering every NBA season as a threat to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy, the Clippers have never made an appearance in the Finals in franchise history.

Both Griffin and Paul have early-termination clauses in their contracts, which means they can walk away from the Clip without any issues following the 2016-17 season. Add to that, the salary cap is set to increase, which could make it incredibly hard for LA to match the offers other teams will give Griffin and Paul.

Lob City may be more dependent on their starting lineup than any other team in the NBA, as the contracts they’ve doled out to their Big 3 have handcuffed the depth of the team. Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers are solid off the bench – though overpaid – but the rest of the bench is filled with 35-plus-year-old bodies on the veteran minimum.

Doc Rivers had frequently subbed out his entire starting lineup for the bench during his early tenure with the Clippers, but he started to realize this was a flawed way of coaching last season. As the year closed out, there were plenty of instances where Paul would man the point with Griffin on the bench, in order to keep at least one game-changer on the court at all times.

NBA Championship +2500/Western Conference +1200

As hard as it is to fathom, +2500 is the third-best odds to win the NBA championship for any team out of the Western Conference. Obviously, the Golden State Warriors are huge favorites, but the Clippers have the pieces to potentially take a series against them.

However, let’s be real; a lot would need to go right for the above scenario to happen. The Clippers simply couldn’t figure out how to defend the Warriors last season as they lost all four meetings in the regular season. In those four games, Steph Curry averaged 31.8 points while shooting 46 percent from beyond the arc. If the Clip Show struggled to cover Curry last season, it’s hard to imagine how they cover him and Kevin Durant.

It’s just too hard to back the Clippers with their history of collapsing in the playoffs.

Pacific Division +1000

The idea of the Clippers winning the Pacific is easier to get your head wrapped around than them topping the Warriors in a straight-up series. LA has finished at least second in the division in each of the past five seasons, including back-to-back Pacific Division crowns in 2012-13 and ’13-14. If the Clippers want to win the division, they need to beat the Warriors, it’s that simple.

LA went 9-7 within the division last season and a stellar 9-3 if you remove the games against Golden State. However, they would have had to go at least 3-1 against Golden State last season to win the division.

This just isn’t going to happen.

OVER/UNDER Win Total 53.5

OVER 53.5 is a pretty attractive bet, as the Clippers have averaged 55.5 wins in their past four seasons. They did record just 53 victories last season, but the team struggled quite a bit with injury issues down the stretch. Just one more game with Paul or Griffin and they likely would have eclipsed the 53.5 total.

Chris Paul To Lead NBA in Assists +325

With plenty of Clippers-related betting options virtually rendered useless thanks to the Warriors, I figured I could offer up something that may be of better value. And you may find the best futures prop with Paul leading the NBA in assists.

The point guard has accomplished this feat four times in his career, including two of the past three seasons. Last season saw Rajon Rondo pace the league, but it’s hard to figure out what is happening in Chicago, so he could see a drop-off. Russell Westbrook is now the man in OKC and will likely see his assists drop slightly with a bigger burden to score.

Paul has sharpshooting J.J. Redick in the frontcourt, Jordan had the best field-goal percentage in the NBA last season and Griffin has spent this past offseason working on his shot. I honestly believe Paul climbs atop this mountain again this year.

2016 Los Angeles Clippers Futures Odds
NBA Finals+2500
Western Conference+1200
Pacific Division+1000
Win Totals53.5

Odds as of October 21 at Bovada