Because really, every other team in the west right now has a legitimate reason (ones even better than the Clippers' reasons) to believe that they will make the playoffs next year,
Of course there's the top 8 that made the playoffs this year that would all be elite teams if they were in the east. The Lakers still reign as the NBA's best. Dallas and Denver are right behind the Lakers. Phoenix, Utah, and San Antonio are still steady franchises that only know how to win and have the ability to be surprise teams in the playoffs. And Oklahoma City and Portland are solid playoff teams that still have so much potenital as they both mature.
Then there are the dreamers, like us, that believe that next year will be their year. Houston, despite having Yao out, while losing McGrady and Artest, still managed to finish with a winning record and will only get better with Aaron Brook's improvement and the return of Yao. New Orleans found two studs in Collison and Marcus Thornton, while getting a healthy Chris Paul back with them next season. And had they had Chris Paul this whole season, they're probably still in the playoff picture like every other season. Memphis of course is the youngest team in the NBA that was one game short of finishing with a winning record. They are Oklahoma City, only one year behind. Sacramento has a sure superstar in their hands that kept them in the playoffs for a good part of the season before just wearing down. They're going to get another high draft pick, another year of experience for their young players, and most likely will fully adjust to the Landry trade. With Golden State, they are getting a high draft pick and there were a jillion games missed by their players, and from that, they are in great shape for next season. They found keepers in the D league (like always) in Reggie Williams and Anthony Tolliver and they have another sure star in Curry. Not to mention that they still have premier scorers in Monta Ellis and Cory Maggette (maybe not premier, but they do score effectively). They also have young talent with a lot of potential in Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright. So the Warriors have a lot to look forward to.
We're getting Blake Griffin back, the improvement (hopefully) in Eric Gordon, and those are pretty much the only things that are a guarantee for us. Free agent? Maybe, maybe not. John Wall or Evan Turner? Highly unlikely.
The Wolves are the only team I see that we are clearly in better shape than, but I could change my mind if they land Wall or Turner given that they have the second best chance to get them. But all the other teams are pretty much in the exact same boat as us.
So honestly, is there really a good chance that we can overtake the teams ahead of us that didn't make the playoffs, and go even further by overtaking one of the top 8 teams that are all still as solid as ever? I pray to God we do, but realistically, the chances are slim.
What are your predictions and goals for us next season? I just hope to be a respectable team that shows improvement because playoffs could be asking for too much.