Clippers 2015-16 NBA Season Opener: Their time starts now


This is it. After months of waiting, the 2015-16 NBA regular season is upon us. The basketball drought of the summer months is over and we can finally watch the best talent that the league has to offer again. Can the Golden State Warriors repeat? Who’s crowned MVP? How good will the LaMarcus Aldridge San Antonio Spurs be? And, more importantly for Los Angeles Clippers fans, can Doc Rivers and his revamped squad turn themselves around after another devastating second round playoff exit?

The time to see all those narratives unfold is now.

And for the Clippers, the time for their best season in franchise history is now.

There’s no need to go into the idea that this is the Clippers’ last chance at a championship. The Big 3 of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan aren’t going anywhere yet and players such as Lance StephensonJ.J. Redick, Paul Pierce and Wesley Johnson can all be around for at least the next couple of seasons.

So, in all honesty, the Clippers are really only just beginning.

Last season, with teams such as LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers and the frightfully dominant Golden State Warriors, did a Clippers team with virtually no bench really have a good shot at the title? Not exactly. But with far more depth and versatility, their new team for 2015-16 is entirely different from last year.

As has been said, this isn’t their last chance. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a heck of a lot on the line for the Clippers this season. They need to make the most of having depth, versatility, veteran leaders and more talent than pretty much every other team before their best shot at a championship slips away. With so many tough contenders in the mix this season, the Clippers need to make the most of what could be the best roster they’ll assemble in the foreseeable future.

And after such a short amount of time together, they aren’t doing bad already.

Admittedly, they’ve only participated in preseason games, so their last two wins technically mean absolutely nothing. Yet there’s more to their defeat of the Warriors and comeback from a 35 point, second quarter deficit against the Portland Trail Blazers than just two wins. By taking down the defending champions and their new rivals (despite the fact they didn’t have Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut), was, at the very least, a confidence boost for the Clippers. Even more so after their atrocious 113-71 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

More from Clippers News

As for the remarkable comeback against the Blazers, it proved that the Clippers have heart. Which is encouraging for this new team at such an early stage of their 2015-16 campaign.

Regardless of a win meaning nothing, they fought back behind collective team play and the clutch 14 fourth quarter points of Paul Pierce to show that they have some fight in them. Of course, the preseason win doesn’t matter, but that kind of drive is what they’ll need this season when faced with difficult situations.

Following their tremendous comeback, Pierce said that it’s a performance the Clippers can look back on throughout this season (per Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times):

"“Whenever we get down throughout the year, I’m going to go back and refer to this game. The game is never over. Guys have to realize that.”"

That kind of attitude is one reason why the Clippers need to make the most of having The Truth while he can still bury clutch shots and inspire a team with his leadership and competitiveness. If he retires after this season, they lose one of the most valuable veterans in the game.

It’s not just the matter of Pierce, though. If the Clippers can’t make it work this season, with so much depth, talent and versatility, not to mention three stars in their prime, can they really afford another second round exit? At the very least, can they show signs of improvement to either surpass 56 wins or make it to the Conference Finals?

Oct 20, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) talks with Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Reddick (left) during the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

This season is by no means the end, but it’s hard to see that everything will go their way again as it did this summer. On top of that, with so many other contenders that aren’t declining any time soon, the Clippers can’t do anything less than making the most of the chance they have to win right now. From hopefully bringing Stephenson back to form, to utilizing Pierce as a new fourth quarter option, now is the time to take their weapons and do more than they ever have.

No more lacklustre playoff efforts. No more losing 3-1 series leads. No more being underrated by everyone as a second round joke.

The time has come to change all that, and the Clippers couldn’t be in a better position to succeed.

More from Clipperholics

Against the Sacramento Kings for their 2015-16 regular season opener, the Clippers have a worthy opponent simply because of the near uncontainable talent of DeMarcus Cousins. He averaged 24.1 points, 12.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.7 blocks per game last season, and was simply a force in the paint. His power in the post is always great to watch, but his improved passing, rebounding, and rim protection made him even more of a complete center. Also, the likes of Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo (if the experiment of the latter works out remotely well) is another good test to start the year.

After two strong performances that have seen the Clippers finally play with a greater sense of cohesion, though, they should be able to handle the Kings without too much trouble.

Plus, it’s the first opportunity to watch this new, loaded team in a regular season game.

The excitement of the Clippers and their improved chance to contend starts now. And who knows, they may be able to emerge as one of the top forces in the entire league.

They just need to make it count while they can.

Next: Clippers: Six Predictions for the 2015-16 season