Hope for the West's hopeless
...At this early stage, even the most desperate teams have at least some chance, however small, of engaging in a U-turn. The 2004-05 Bulls started 4-15 and ended up winning 47 games and having home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Cleveland won 47 as well after starting 7-14 in 1993-94. And perhaps most famously, the 1977-78 Sonics started 5-17 and made the Finals. It's rare, but it does happen...
L.A. Clippers (5-17, Playoff Odds 1.6 percent)
As with the Timberwolves, the Clippers are in the odd situation where they have two really good players and bunch of awful ones. Blake Griffin is an overwhelming physical force in the paint and a near-certain Rookie of the Year winner, while Eric Gordon has emerged as an all-weather scoring threat despite a sudden, puzzling inability to convert 3-pointers.
And that about does it for the good news. The only other Clipper with a PER of 13 is Craig Smith, who unfortunately plays the same position as Griffin. Veterans Baron Davis and Chris Kaman have been hampered by injuries and ineffectiveness when on the court, while new coach Vinny Del Negro's troops have mailed it in on defense (they're 29th in Defensive Efficiency despite Griffin's ownership of the glass).
As with Minnesota, having two good players and bunch of bad ones is actually a strong position from which to improve. If Davis and Kaman come back and play at anywhere near their former levels, L.A. will play dramatically better. And in the meantime, promising youngsters like Eric Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu and DeAndre Jordan are getting valuable minutes and experience.
Having already banked 17 losses, the Clippers don't have much room for error -- they'll need to go at least 36-24 from here out, and that's with Kaman out a while longer after reinjuring his ankle against Portland on Sunday. Also, it's difficult to find a living, breathing organism who has much faith in Del Negro's ability to right the ship.
Thus, as is permanently the case with the Clippers, we can argue that the future is much more promising than the present. It's just that in Clipperville, said future never actually arrives.
— John Hollinger, ESPN Insider