As the NBA season reaches its halfway point, basketball fans around the world have been preparing themselves to react to the release of the league’s ‘Midseason Media Survey’. Luckily for supporters of the Los Angeles Clippers, our ball club came out of this one smelling of roses.
When you consider the fact that Tyronn Lue’s team are sitting just above .500 and are just out the other side of a six-game losing streak, you could forgive the journalists for having little to no faith that there would be a big turnaround in the second half of the campaign. Instead, they have predicted just that.
For a start, the Clippers are ranked as the ninth-best team in the league by the media, just ahead of the freshly-defeated Dallas Mavericks and behind only the New Orleans Pelicans, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Denver Nuggets from the West. Yet, despite ranking fourth by those measures, these select credential holders have voted our guys as most likely to represent their conference in the Finals. In fact, they’ve given them a three percent chance of winning the whole thing, behind the top three out East – the Brooklyn Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics.
So how do Coach Lue and company go from being a team flirting with the play-in tournament placings to being one of the top contenders to be parading silverware around the streets of Los Angeles? Well, the survey has them as the second most likely to make a big run in the second half of the season, just behind the disappointing reigning champion Golden State Warriors.
This campaign has thus far been a tale of inconsistency and injury, with fully healthy lineups being tinkered with too much and preventing any momentum from being gathered. It’s for that reason some of the darker corners of Clippers fandom have started to lose faith in the ability of this coaching staff to take the team forward.
However, the media have kept their faith in the project, voting Ty by far and away the best coach at in-game adjustments and joint second in after-timeout plays. If he can show more of that in the run up to the postseason and beyond, there’s no reason he can’t convince even the biggest doubters that he can help the franchise take that final step.
Thought this was revealing from T Lue about state of the team's offense (the most unserious in the NBA outside of Houston and Charlotte), as well as saying later that state of current rotation "doesn't mean Reggie (Jackson) is done." pic.twitter.com/yOuiGzK2GN— Law Murray (@LawMurrayTheNU) January 11, 2023
On the face of it, a midseason survey by NBA media members doesn’t necessarily have too much of an impact, and I’m sure some of you are like me and have already laughed at the memes surrounding their predictions – such as Jordan Poole, who has started 21 out of 42 games so far for the Warriors, for Sixth Man Of The Year. However, it’s at least a show of intent that people around the league are still high on the Clippers.
As fans, we will naturally go through highs and lows when watching our team, swinging from blind faith to feeling the walls closing in, but Coach Lue has shown us more than enough to suggest that he can get his guys playing at their optimum before the playoffs roll around – while Lawrence Frank will no doubt be lining up to finesse somebody to push that needle further.
It has become a cliche in the NBA these days, but perhaps the biggest takeaway from this survey is to just trust the process.