It is every American's God-given right to enjoy apple pie, to blow things up on the 4th of July, to be enthralled by Honey Boo Boo and of course to rank things. We love to rank things! We rank the best movies, the best cars, the hottest WAG or the GOAT in any given sport. So, it seems logical to me to rank LA basketball as we get ready to start the 2012-2013 NBA season.
For years, well decades really, something like this would have been as predictable as a weather forecast in our fair city with one team consistently coming out on top. In fact, an L.A. basketball power ranking would have been cruel, annoying and boring much like the Clippers teams of the past.
Oh how things have changed.
For Clipper fans who struggled through horrible draft picks, the "Clipper Curse" and a seemingly disinterested franchise this is a time to revel in the fact that your team is legit. Legit as in they have a real chance to content for the Western Conference title and beyond. What makes that even more exciting is the possibility that the Clippers may have the pieces in place to content for a while.
That's right Los Angeles, the Clippers are in the same discussion as the Lakers! It's time to get used to it!
They are no ones place-mat. They aren't the laughing stock of the Association anymore. They aren't the "prison" that players can't wait to leave and the place no free agents want to join. The Clippers are contenders, but I understand that to some they will always be the bumbling, stumbling Clippers of old.
Some stench takes a while to wear off and there was no greater stench than old-time Clipper stench!
In the 2005-2006 season the Clippers began to apply some Febreze as they came within one game of the Western Conference Finals. In typical Clipper fashion however, they couldn't sustain it and went on to win a whopping 19 games just three seasons later. Try as they might, they kept succumbing to the stench...until now.
The 2012-2013 edition of the Los Angeles Clippers is loaded and primed to be the best team in Los Angeles.
I wrote an article explaining why I thought the Clippers would have a better record than the Lakers and received some interesting feedback. I detailed their bench, the strength in team chemistry and more and all this without the benefit of watching either team play in the preseason. Now that I've had a chance to watch both teams in action, as much as I hate to toot my own horn and admit it, I was right.
The Clippers will have a better record than the Lakers going into the All Star game and beyond. Take that to the bank!
Now, the preseason is a time to find a hidden gem (like the Lakers did in Robert Sacre), to develop substitution patterns, build chemistry and teach a team how to handle certain situations at game speed. The preseason is not about winning, but it would be nice to win....some. The Clippers did, the Lakers didn't
While the Clippers were showing off Eric Bledsoe - a player who they would not leave as a part of the Chris Paul trade and who starts the season in the discussion as sixth man of the year award, the Lakers showed us Steve Nash's new haircut. While the Clippers had Jamal Crawford on display making shots from impossible angles and showing he will be instant offense off the bench, the Lakers had Antawn Jamison shooting 28.6% from the floor.
While the Lakers limped out of the preseason with a 94-82 loss with an average margin of loss of 15.3 points, the Clippers stormed out of the gate with a convincing 106-94 victory over the Nuggets.
Now, its possible this is all an aberration. It's possible that a poor preseason for the Lakers will be the motivation they need to steamroll the competition in the regular season. Its also possible that the Clippers will revert to their stinky ways and limp into the 8th spot as the season winds down. The great thing about a power ranking however is that you get to take a snapshot in time without considering the past or predictions for the future. That makes things simple and crystal clear.
In the inaugural L.A. Basketball Power Ranking, the team on top doesn't wear Purple and Gold. Welcome to #1 Clippers. L.A. just better get used to it.