USA TODAY Sports' Adi Joseph and Sean Highkin will be counting down NBA teams based on watchability for the upcoming 2013-14 season. We'll go one team a day, from least-watchable to most, giving you an idea of what to keep an eye out for this season. Today, we continue with the No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers:
2012-13 record: 56-26, lost in first round of Western Conference playoffs.
Adi Joseph's 2013-14 record projection: 55-27, third in Western Conference.
Two best players (2012-13 statistics): PG Chris Paul (16.9 points, 9.7 assists, 2.4 steals a game), PF Blake Griffin (18.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists a game).
Overview: Doc Rivers has the ring already. That's why the Clippers brought the veteran coach in, costing the team a future first-round draft pick. Paul doesn't have that jewelry, and as a small, 28-year-old point guard whose speed is essential to his ability, his time may be running out. He's the best point guard in the NBA and may be the third best player overall. This team is better than any he's ever played on, particularly after an outstanding offseason brought in depth and stronger wings.
WHY YOU CAN'T MISS THEM
"Lob City": Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan are two of the best dunkers in the NBA, a fact Paul knows well. Though the big guys get most of the praise, the Clippers' "Lob City" moniker didn't come about until they traded for Paul, and his precision passing opens up the offense to allow for the backdoor (and in-your-face) slams.
Outside support: Lost amid the Rivers deal and Paul extension, the addition of Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick in a single sign-and-trade deal may be what boosts the Clippers to title contention. The Clippers now go from mediocre three-point shooting to potentially elite, as Dudley and Redick should find plenty of space. Even new big man Byron Mullens may help.
They're better than the Lakers: This cannot be ignored. The last time the Clippers entered a season with higher expectations than the Lakers was more than 20 years ago. But times are tough in Laker Land, so their Staples Center co-tenants will try to take advantage.
JUST TRY TO IGNORE ...
Free throw hell: Knowing Griffin and Jordan are bad free throw shooters, opponents often send the Clippers' big men to the line late in games. Griffin's free throw percentage jumped from 52.1% in 2011-12 to 66.0% last season, but Jordan may be the worst free throw shooter in NBA history, boasting a career 42.4% mark that he worsened with a 38.6% showing last season.