Yesterday, USA Today finished its NBA preseason preview having ranked all 30 teams by watchability. Justifiably, they selected the Cleveland Cavaliers as the league's most watchable team. Justifiably? You doth protest? Let's just chalk it up to novelty: a new big three, the potential for lots of offense (for them and for their opponents), Kevin Love throwing outlet passes, some guy coming home, blah blah.
Of paramount interest to you, Clips Nation reader, is that USA Today ranked the Clippers second. Again discounting the Cavs as the pretty new girl, the Clippers have established themselves as just plain pretty, no matter how many times you see her. Lob City is appointment viewing for many basketball fans around the country, which I base on absolutely nothing, but it sounds true. As evidence of their popularity, I submit to you that the Clippers are scheduled to appear on national television 23 times in the next 7 months. In 2010-2011, Blake Griffin's rookie year, the Clippers had just 6 national television appearances.
If you want to read what USA Today has to say about the Clippers' watchability, you can find it here. Honestly, the article is just your run-of-the-mill preview column in a 'watchability' tux, so, I'm hijacking their gimmick and, at the risk of going all Bleacher Report on you, giving you some reasons I will like watching the Clippers during this upcoming season.
Because Griffin Dunkface. Look at the picture atop this page. Is he having a stroke? Did he forget his dentures? Did the dunk bring him to climax? No, he looks like a shark. An angry, slam-dunking shark.
Because alley-oops. I'm really putting my neck on the line, but I think we'll see a lot of these. In fact, I hope and wish to see the great unicorn of alley-oops, the double alley-oop. This one between Jamal Crawford and Blake Griffin was really good, but I think we can get a third player involved. I want all Big Three in there.
Because crazy Chris Paul passes. Remember that fast break pass Chris Paul threw to Chauncey Billups? Remember how he threw it sideways and masséd it around a defender like an expert pool player? Remember Michael Smith yelling incredulously, "Did he just put English on that pass?!" Good, because I can't find a video of it. I swear it happened, really. That's why Chris Paul needs to do it again, as well as any other passes that could make a McDonald's commercial.
Because J.J. Redick running around. And around. And around. Doc Rivers' favorite first-quarter play call was "Redick, Duck, Duck, Goose". Do you know how little James Harden liked it? Harden was having none of it. It's so cliché to say how much Harden hates playing defense, it's like saying cats hate dogs or Allen Iverson hates talkin' 'bout practice. Redick ran around so much he made poor Harden so tired that he hated playing offense. In game #4 of last year's regular season, the Clippers beat the Rockets 137-118, and that game was over when Houston called a timeout just 4:44 in, all because J.J. flat broke Harden's spirit. I could go on all column-long, but I mustn't spoil the forthcoming Redick player-preview.
Because Sam Cassell on the bench. After suffering through the Rick Brunson experience, the Marko Jaric experience, the Andre Miller experience, and the Jeff McInnis experience*, the Sam Cassell experience was an absolute Point Guard Extravaganza. Always colorful, he played with two balls, and showed us frequently. Confession: I did not watch a lot of Wizards games (did anybody before these past playoffs?), so maybe he's become the quiet observer kind of coach who sits quietly, hands folded, speaking only when he's spoken to. But, I doubt it, and, I certainly hope not. I want him barking, jumping, trash-talking, and reminding us that he while may have traded his uni for a suit, but he still plays with two balls.
*Confession: I had to look up the pre-Cassell years to jog my memory. Yikes! No wonder I had forgotten our point guards. To put this period into Presidential terms, this was Fillmore-Pierce-Buchanan.
Because I don't know who will wave the towels. All great teams have a towel-waver. Many great teams had John Salley. Matt Barnes used to do it, but now he spends crunch time on the court. Ryan Hollins was great at it, and thank goodness, because he wasn't great at anything else. Also, he's gone now. Glen Davis can do it, but only during breaks between pouts. Reggie Bullock can do it, but I get the feeling he's too ambitious — he doesn't seem happy on the bench, like he'd actually rather be playing. Thus, I nominate Joe Ingles. He's white, he's foreign, he's new, and he'll feel a need to overcompensate. If he makes the roster, that is. Just one thing, Joe: in the Northern Hemisphere, the towel waves the other way.
There are many, many more reasons to watch the Clippers this season. I am sure I missed one, or ten. Please, line up in an orderly fashion and put them in the comments, and we shall discuss like gentlemen.