Los Angeles Clippers: What to Expect in 2015-16


Sep 25, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3), forward Blake Griffin (32), center DeAndre Jordan (6) and head coach Doc Rivers during media day at the Clipper Training Facility in Playa Vista. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

For any real sports fan, this is the best time of the year. Football, baseball, hockey and basketball seasons are all either winding down or ramping up. Heck, you can even watch a little soccer too if you are so inclined.

There is no better time of year to be a sports fan.

Some sports fans follow their favorite team because their parents instilled that passion early on. Some played the sport as a kid and latched on to the local team. Others might know a player personally while others love the thrill of watching two teams battle.

Whatever your reason, sports are the first and best reality TV on TV, and now is prime time.

Of course, like any good reality TV, sports can be unpredictable. Not many had the Astros and Cubs still playing baseball this late into October, for example. Unpredictability is one constant that keeps real fans coming back. However, for every impossible to predict surprise team there do seem some absolutes that follow a season, year in and year out.

In football, it seems that every season we see some team dig deep into the playbook for a flea flicker that involves the running back throwing the ball. In baseball, it’s inevitable that some slugger will admire his towering shot from the batters box – sure it’s going out, until it lands in the outfielder’s mitt. Sadly, in most MLS seasons we are certain to see a gaffe that leads to a dreaded own goal.

Sports events are amazing in that they are both unpredictable and also, well, predictable.

Do I know who is going to win the NBA Championship this year? Nope. Are we fairly certain to see someone miss a wide-open dunk? Sure. Are the eight best teams in the Western Conference obvious to spot? Not at all. Will some lucky stiff sink a half-court shot and win money and/or a car? Very likely.

Nov 17, 2014; Spokane, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs student , Brad, makes a half court shot to win $500 during a game against the Southern Methodist Mustangs at McCarthey Athletic Center. Bulldogs won 72-56. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Sports are an oxymoron and it’s that combination of predictability and unpredictability in part that keep us fans engaged.

The Los Angeles Clippers are no stranger to this unique aspect of sports. Will they win the West? Will they advance past the second round of the playoffs? Will Lance Stephenson pan out? Will the memory of the collapse against Houston last year cripple this team, or motivate them?

Who knows.

There are some things that are sure to happen, though it’s just a matter of time. While a lot about the Clippers of 2015-16 remains unknown and unpredictable there are a few things that will surely happen. Here is my list along with my best guess as to when we might see it.

J.J. Redick will refuse to miss in the first half, then disappear in the second

There was a time when the jump shot was considered boring. I think it was Larry Bird that first popularized the long jump shot. Now, watching someone hit a string of threes gets the fans off their seats as much as a power dunk.

Redick will have the fans up as he shoots and drains three after three in the first half of some game. Those same fans will be snug in their seats in the second half watching Redick shoot 1-for-3.

My guess, before game 24.

Blake Griffin will do what only he can do from the power forward position

It’s just a matter of time before we see Griffin grab a rebound but instead of dishing to a point guard, he will bring the ball up court. He’s already done it countless times in preseason. We will all notice when he gets to half court that he isn’t stopping. He handles the ball in a way that someone his size shouldn’t until he reaches the rim and scores.

My guess, before game five.

Pablo Prigioni will steal an inbound pass out of sight of the cameras

Everyone knows he does this. Everyone knows its coming. But rest assured, it will still happen. A Prigioni steal is like a Clayton Kershaw fastball; even if you know it’s coming, you aren’t ready when it does.

My guess, before game 50.

Oct 13, 2015, Shanghai, China; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) waves to fans during fan appreciation night with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Charlotte Hornets at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Danny La-USA Today Sports

Chris Paul will have a double digit assist game with no turnovers

The best pure point guard in the game will marvel us with a flawless game.

My guess, before game 15.

A Clippers player will have a “Super Cinco”

Triple doubles are fun, but kinda last decade. Today’s players are faster, stronger and more skilled than those that came before them. They need a new stat that shows off their amazing abilities. Welcome Super Cinco to the NBA vernacular.

A Super Cinco is accomplished when a player has at least five of each points, assists, rebounds and any combination equaling five of blocks and steals as long as you have one of either. A Perfect Super Cinco comes when the offensive stats are combined with zero turnovers.

The closest anyone has come to so far in the preseason is Derrick Favors of the Jazz. He put together this impressive box score:

Rebounds 10, assists 1, steals 2, blocks 3, points 9, turnovers 1.

He came four assists from a Super Cinco and one less TO away from a Perfect Super Cinco.

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A Super Cinco celebrates the all-around player, the stat stuffer. Doc Rivers assembled this Clippers team to be multi-positional. There are several players on this year’s squad with the potential to put up the first Super Cinco of the year. Griffin, Stevenson, Wesley Johnson and even Paul all come to mind. It will happen, it’s just a matter of when.

My guess, before game 40 and it will be Johnson.

So, go enjoy the start of the NFL season, sports fans. Watch as the Cubs and Mets make improbable runs to the World Series. Marvel at the skill and athleticism of a 6’4” 250 pound man on skates or the amazing footwork of a midfielder on the soccer pitch.

I plan on doing all the above as I wait in anticipation for the inevitable Clippers exploits listed here. This just makes the best time of year for any sports fan just a little better for Clippers fans, doesn’t it?

Leave me your predictions in the comments!

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