LOS ANGELES CA - DECEMBER 29: Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers sets to rebound a foul shot during the game with the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on December 29 2010 in Los Angeles California. The Jazz won 103-85. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
No team in the NBA got an offseason makeover as drastic as the Los Angeles Clippers. With one trade and a magic wave of David Stern's wand, the Clippers went from young and talented, to a contending team by acquiring Chris Paul a couple days after claiming Chauncey Billups. Whether or not the Clippers are legitimate contenders, certainly remains to be seen, but what is already apparent, is that they are one of the most intriguing teams in the NBA now. In some ways the Clippers are a better version of the Jazz themselves: a careful mixture of veterans and youth with a little more talent or experience at most positions.
But today should be a very entertaining game at least and really kicks off what will be a series of great teams and stars coming to play at the Energy Solutions Arena. So if you are into that sort of thing, go to the games and cheer extra loud for me.What's going on with the Clippers:
Well besides the aforementioned facelift and subsequent obnoxious labeling of "Lob City" the Clippers are at least a good team, not just a media creation of cliches and hopes. The Clippers have the 6th most efficient offense in the NBA, but surprisingly, they play at a slower pace than most of the league. With all the highlights of their fast breaks and alley-oops, you could predict a faster than average pace, but the fact that they are so efficient while staying "slow" is a testament to the half court offense they are able to run effectively. The Clippers shoot a league average percent from the 3 point line as a team at 33.7%. The Clippers shoot a surprisingly lower than league average number of shots at the rim (layups and dunks), but the shots they do take at the rim are assisted, more often than most of the league. So there is some truth about the alley-oops possibly.
Also, and most importantly, the status of Chris Paul is up in the air. Can you believe the Jazz's luck with other teams and their best players being injured? It's beginning to feel like more than a coincidence.
What's going on with the Jazz
The Jazz are putting up very average numbers across the board, but the results are anything but average. Winners of 8 of the last 10 games, the Jazz are one of the hottest teams in the league, plain and simple. The scary thing is that several of the Jazz players have a lot of room for improvement in their individual games.
Also, Derrick Favors said he would play tonight on Sunday, but the last I heard, he was in a walking boot after the Nuggets game and is listed as doubtful. If he isn't a go, that means that Kanter will get more minutes, with Jeremy Evans seeing some more floor time as well perhaps. Then maybe the Jazz could teach the Clippers the true meaning of "Lob City."