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NBA Finals, What Does it Take?

It's no secret that in order for an NBA team to get to the Finals, they usually need one of the best players in the game surrounded by a competent supporting cast, a group of multiple all-stars, or both. It's very rare that a team can win a conference championship without these qualities, though the Detroit Pistons are probably the closest thing we've seen in the last decade.  In compiling an approximation of the top three players for every team to reach the finals over the last eight years, the Pistons were the only team that couldn't be summarized in three players. You could argue that many of the teams below should mention a 4th, or have a border-line 3rd option, and that's all good...

 

But what I'm getting at here, is that there's no question the Clippers main asset this year is in their depth, and if anything, this strength is being underplayed heading into the season. It's feasible that what figure to be the top eight rotation players, (B.Davis, Kaman, Thornton, Camby, Mobley, R.Davis, Thomas, & Gordon) could all be starting somewhere in the league, which not too many other teams can say.

 

The Clippers' impressive depth isn't all they have going for them.  They finally have a vocal leader, and an established star at the most important position.  The problem is that Baron Davis will probably have to be the teams first scoring option by default.  But if the fact that our PG must run the team and double as our leading scorer isn't our biggest weakness, it's definitely our 2nd & 3rd options.  Well, at least on paper it is.  Can we really expect Kaman 3.0 or better? Can he step to David West, Bynum/Gasol, Stoudamire, etc? It's probably asking too much.  If Kaman instead performs to what his track record indicates, it will take a mammoth leap from Al Thornton to allow the Clippers to look the best teams in the eye. 

 

The only other possibility I see is if Eric Gordon gets back on the court quickly and completley aces his rookie year, forcing Dunleavy to start him over a healthy and productive Mobley in the process. The odds of that happening appear to be very long and unrealistic, though you might think the entire premise of the NBA Finals and the LA Clippers being part of the same discussion is just as crazy.  Disclaimer: Because we're talking about best possible scenarios, the assumption of good health and good chemistry are a given, and we are left to look at players with upside.  And anyway, if you look at it this way, there seems to be plenty of room for error in order for this team to earn a measley playoff spot.   

 

 

2009

Clippers – B.Davis, Kaman, Thornton, Camby

(Currently going off at around 50/1)

 

2008

Celtics – Pierce, Garnett, Allen

Lakers – Kobe, Gasol, Odom

 

2007

Spurs – Duncan, Parker, Ginobli

Cavs – Lebron, Ilgauskas, Gooden

 

2006

Heat – D.Wade, Shaq, Posey

Mavs – Notwitzki, Howard, Terry

 

2005

Spurs – Duncan, Parker, Ginobli

Pistons – Billups, Hamilton, Prince, Sheed, BB

 

2004

Pistons – Billups, Hamilton, Prince, Sheed, BB

Lakers – Kobe, Shaq, Payton

 

2003

Spurs – Duncan, Robinson, Parker

Nets – Kidd, Martin, Jefferson

 

2002

Lakers – Shaq, Kobe, ???

Nets – Kidd, Jefferson, Collins

 

2001

Lakers – Shaq, Kobe, ???

76ers – Iverson, Mutumbo, Snow

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