Six good teams flying under the radar.
Believe it or not, the Paper Clips have a better than zero chance of making the postseason -- 2.4 percent, to be exact. While they likely dug themselves far too great a hole -- especially with a whopping 27 road games remaining -- it's worth noting how well they've played since a disastrous first month of the season.
The Clips have won seven of their past 10, including an impressive road win in Chicago, and while the bench remains horrific, the starting unit looks mighty. Blake Griffin, obviously, is a monster, displaying such awesome physical feats on a nightly basis that he's likely to make the All-Star team despite his team's awful record.
But he's getting a lot more help now, for two reasons. First, Baron Davis is healthy and reasonably engaged, at least by Baron's standards, and relishing the ability to throw alley-oops anywhere between the rim and Venus and have Griffin turn them into a highlight.
Second, DeAndre Jordan has turned into a real defensive force. Sure, he can get a little too ambitious about leaving his man to hunt down highlight-reel blocked shots, but he's swatting nearly three shots per 40 minutes and has the size to check big centers without help. Plus, he's a devastating finisher at the rim (68.5 percent) whose physical force requires opponents to match up two true big men to play against L.A.
Combine that with an underrated breakout season from Eric Gordon and a solid rookie campaign from Al-Farouq Aminu, and the Clips are no longer an automatic W for their opponents. The city's "other" team is up to a respectable 19th in the Power Rankings, and despite the unfavorable schedule we're now projecting 33 wins -- which would be an impressive recovery following a 5-21 start, as it implies a 28-28 mark over the final two-thirds of the schedule.
Hollinger, ESPN Insider