This series is a little tougher to project. So much star power in this interstate match up, with both franchises distancing themselves from their losing ways of the past.
Is this finally the year the Clippers break through and win the West? I’m not sure about that, but they do have a pretty good chance of winning this first round series. This has been the year that former first pick Blake Griffin finally took major strides towards becoming the player most think he can be. He asserted himself as a leader and go-to playmaker when Chris Paul was sidelined with injury.
The thing to like about this team is depth. Mid-season pickups Danny Granger and Glen Davis bolster an already talented squad. Having two legitimate MVP-caliber players is one thing, but surrounding them with knockdown shooters like Jamal Crawford and JJ Redick, good role players like Darren Collison and Matt Barnes, makes you a dangerous team. That’s not to mention DeAndre Jordan, who has continued to improve into a fully capable starting Center in this league. Interestingly the Clips’ most used 5 man unit is Paul-Collison-Barnes-Griffin-Jordan according to 82games.com. That lineup is incredibly fast and athletic, though the outside shooting leaves much to be desired. I’m definitely curious to see what unit Doc Rivers rolls with late in a close game.
The Warriors are tough to project, because while I don’t think they can match the depth of the Clippers, they can shoot the lights out. Few backcourts in league history can match the shooting that Steph Curry and Klay Thompson provide, and when hot their shots barely touch net. Their shooting combined with the superb defense and all-around play of Andre Iguodala (one of my favorites) gives the Warriors the scary trio they imagined. The big key for the Warriors is who is not playing. Andrew Bogut is a strong defensive Center who just can’t stay healthy. David Lee is a terrific player but the Clippers big men can prove to be too much without Bogut down low. Marreese Speights has the big body but is a very inconsistent player, and Jermaine O’Neal can only provide limited minutes at this stage of his career. I think Harrison Barnes can be a big X-factor for this Warriors team, but the Clippers can come at you from so many angles and I think they are good enough to advance at least one round.