I don't know about you, but I've begun to dread these preseason games. The Los Angeles Clippers have been losing, often and badly. And in the wake of those losses, we can only explain it away as being no problem, because "it's only the preseason" — something which is in fact true.
As an illustration, take a quick look at the Western Conference pre-season standings. Point differential is one of the easiest and most accurate metrics for the strength of a team. For the regular season, point differential is a much better predictor of postseason success than winning percentage.
The worst preseason point differential in the Western Conference currently belongs to the LA Lakers (-15.8). No big surprise there, and that's certainly a stat Clips Nation can get behind. The next three — that is to say 14th, 13th and 12th in the West in the preseason — are the Thunder (-10.8), the Clippers (-8.6) and the Spurs (-4.4). Those were the three best teams in the NBA last season, and they should be the three best teams again this season, at least in the West,. Conclusion: THE PRESEASON DOES NOT MATTER.
Which begs the question: why does it exist? And why do we watch it? We watch it because it's there. After five months without Clippers' basketball, of course we're going to watch if they play, no matter how excruciating it is. Why does it exist? I guess the season has to start somewhere. The start of the season is pretty ragged as it is — I suppose it would be even more ragged without the preseason.
Teams with something to prove, teams with a chip on their shoulder — teams like, for instance, tonight's opponent the Golden State Warriors — those guys do well in preseason. Teams that feel pretty confident about who they are and are just looking to tweak a few things to solidify themselves in the hierarchy — they don't really sweat the exhibitions.
As it happens, the Clippers' only win this preseason came in a rematch, when the Jazz pissed them off a bit. The Clippers have already lost once to the Warriors this October — and FSM knows the Dubs know how to piss the Clippers off — so I suppose we could see a Clippers win tonight. But it still won't matter.
Nine days until the games count, citizens. Nine days.