Saying things like the Clippers will definitely make the playoffs is traditionally met with a heart-felt chuckle followed by a dismissive rolling of the eyes. Traditionally.
The Blake Griffin era is very much upon us though, and don’t look now but the Clip Show has a few decent players around him too. So playoffs you ask in your best Coach Mora voice for LA’s other team? Not totally out of the question.
Mo Williams, who played 22 games in LA for the Clippers last season after being traded from Cleveland for Baron Davis, went as far as going Joe Namath on his team’s chances of playing into the post season this year.
This according to the LA Times last night:
“We’re going to go to the playoffs this year,” Williams said. “That’s what is going to happen. It’s just how far we’re going to go, that’s what it is. But we’re going to the playoffs.”
Why does he feel that way?
After all, the Clippers have not made the playoffs since 2006, and their last appearance before that was in 1997.
“We’ve got the personnel in place,” Williams said. “And I know my leadership qualities. I know how hard I worked this off-season to prepare for this, and there’s no way I won’t be in the playoffs this year.”
Williams averaged over 15 points and 5 assists in 32 minutes per game last season after being shipped out west, and I imagine this guarantee has Clipper Darrell and all twelve of the other Clippers fans real riled up this morning.
If he can continue to average around those numbers however, and Eric Gordon takes a step forward, Blake keep being Blake, and they get some additional production from maybe an Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Jordan or Chris Kaman, Darrell and the fellas might really have something to cheer about as this season moves forward.
Obviously the bulk of that will rely on how good Blake can be with the whole world watching his every move now, but Griffin didn’t back down from the predictions made by his PG at all either when asked about them by the Times.
Said Griffin in response:
“We’re right behind him in that regard,” Griffin said Friday after another workout at the team’s practice facility in Playa Vista. “That’s the mentality and the mind-set of our whole team. That’s something that I’ve been thinking about personally all summer.
“So I have no problems with him saying that. But at the same time we have to back that up and we have to be ready. And I think from talking to everybody, everybody is fired up and ready to go, and I think that’s the direction we’re headed in.”
If last season is any measuring stick for what it will take to get into the playoffs this year out West, the Grizzlies were the 8th seed with a winning percentage of .561. In the 66-game Lockout shortened season this time around, that would equate to approximately 37 wins. In 82 tries last season, the Clippers only won 32.