5 Keys To Los Angeles Clippers’ 2014 Title Hopes
Keys To Clippers' 2014 Success
The Los Angeles Clippers could quite possibly have the best chance in franchise's history to win a title in 2013-14. They brought in a few big free agents over the offseason which helped them score, and they brought in one of the best head coaches of this generation in Doc Rivers. All this showed that they were all-in on trying to raise the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the first time.
Since the franchise moved to L.A. in 1984, they have won a total of two playoff series. To win the NBA title, they need to win double that in a season. The history does not make it look like they have much of a chance, but let's not take that into account.
Rivers brings that big-game experience that most of this roster lacks. Matt Barnes is on his eighth career team, which has to account for experience of some kind. Chris Paul seems like he has a ton of experience in the postseason, but he never played past the second round. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan don't know any other team besides one that is owned by Donald Sterling, which should say enough. Many of their postseason veterans are buried on the bench.
This team has a legit chance to make some noise in a busy Western Conference. Their title hopes rest on a few different factors that need to go right. These are the five keys to the Clippers winning the NBA title this season.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site's NBA, NFL and MLB content. You can follow him on Twitter here.
5. J.J. Redick Continues To Hit His Shots
Throughout his entire career, J.J. Redick has never been a full-time starter. This season, not a game has gone by where he was healthy and not the starting shooting guard for the Clippers. There are two factors when it comes to Redick -- his health and hitting his shots. Both go hand in hand. If he can keep his field goal percentage around 45 percent with his three point percentage sitting around 40 (both close to his averages right now), then he could be a hidden asset in a West that is chock full of them.
4. Who They Play In The First Round
The key to a successful run in the NBA playoffs is an easy first round. If you get to rest your guys between the first round and a likely difficult second round, then you can have an advantage. Unfortunately, the West is not built to have an easy round anywhere. The eighth-seeded Dallas Mavericks are a great team. Right now they are slated to face James Harden, Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets.
3. Chris Paul Stays On The Court
Say what you want about how well the Clippers have played without Paul, there is no way they will go anywhere without him in the playoffs. He is a top-five player in this league. He could be the best point guard when there are 10 great PGs in the league. This team is good with Paul on the bench, and they are great with him on the court. After missing 18 games with a shoulder injury, he is set to return. He needs to stay on the court for the rest of the season and the playoffs for this team's championship hopes to stay alive.
2. Need To Score At Least 105 Per Game
The Clippers just don't have the defense to stop anyone from scoring against them. They rank in the middle of the league in points against. They score at will to make up for it. They are currently averaging 106.4 points per game, which is second in the NBA. If they can keep it around 105 while they are playing solid defense, they will have a shot to win every game. If they can fire on all cylinders throughout the postseason, then they have a very good chance of winning the ultimate prize.
1. 2013-14 Blake Griffin Needs To Stick Around
Blake Griffin is having the best season of his career immediately after his worst. When people started to say he was only good at dunking, he showed his outside shot. When people questioned what happened to his rebounding, he got it back to about double digits on a nightly basis. He's attempting more threes and actually hitting some of them. If he can stay consistent, instead of reverting back to last year's version of himself, then he can be the key to this team. He will do anything to dispel the demons of last season's first-round exit.