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John Hollinger Ranks the Clippers 12th - Behind the Wolves

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Remember a few days ago when Citizen Zhiv posted about the low expectations for the Clippers in Marc Stein's Power Rankings on ESPN.com?  Remember how calm and measured I was in response?  Low expectations are a good thing.  10th in the West, behind Portland and Denver but ahead of Golden State is a reasonable prediction.  Remember all that? 

Well Stein's ESPN colleague John Hollinger has released his Western Conference previews, and he has the Clippers ranked 12th in the Conference.  Behind the Warriors AND the Timberwolves.  Seriously.  That's what he wrote.  He's predicting 30 wins.

OK, so low expectations remains a good thing.  Beyond that, I got nothing.

Bear in mind that this is the same guy who predicting 20 wins for the Clippers last season.  Now, you may be saying, "Wait a minute - the Clippers only won 23.  Sounds like his prediction was pretty good."  The Clippers of course lost more games to injury than any other team last season, and even though the Brand injury was known, he was still expected back for the final 30 games at the least - so there were significant injuries that Hollinger DIDN'T know about.  Or put it this way - he picked Miami among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.  Ask him why that didn't happen and he'll point to injuries.  So you can't have it both ways.

He continues to have a weird disdain for Al Thornton.  Clips Nation will probably never forget the way Hollinger predicted that Thornton would be a bust as a rookie, based almost exlusively on his age.  And Hollinger has never admitted the obvious - that he was flat wrong about Thornton.  After all, Al was named first team all rookie, and ended up as the second leading scorer among rookies.  Does Hollinger foresee good things this time around?  Not so much.  And he remains simply obsessed with Al's age:

It's tough to find any [wings] who are really starter quality.  The best hope is probably Thornton, who had an erratic rookie season but picked up his play toward the end and could provide some decent scoring from the small forward spot. At the same time, he turns 25 in December, making him about half a decade older than many of the league's other second-year players, so one shouldn't expect the same kind of year-to-year growth.

Give it a rest, Hollinger, seriously.