Currently in first place in the Pacific Division, the Clippers are playing as well as just about every other team in the NBA right now. They can thank Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford, among other contributors, for the hot start.
We’ll start with Crawford. A veteran who’s been in the league for 12 years, Crawford is leading the team in scoring despite not even starting. He’s been instant offense off the bench, averaging 19.7 points per game, while shooting 49.6 percent from the floor and 43.4 percent from three.
Crawford doesn’t offer much else other than scoring – he’s averaging just 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists a contest – but that doesn’t matter. He scores at such a good clip that he’s helping the Clippers stay competitive even when they have their second units on the floor.
When you’ve got a guy that can spread the floor like Crawford, it opens up the rest of the offense for everybody else.
As for Blake Griffin, we knew he’d be a big component of this team and that thought has held true so far. He’s averaging 17.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, and is also chipping in with 3.3 assists per game. Perhaps the biggest improvement for the forward though has come at the charity stripe – he’s improved his free throw shooting to 62.0 percent so far this season.
Griffin is also improving as a defender, teaming with center DeAndre Jordan to create one of the most athletically gifted frontcourts in the league.
With Griffin and Crawford playing sound basketball, the Clippers have won eight of their first ten games and have been incredibly profitable in terms of NBA picks throughout the season.
Assuming both stay healthy and productive, this could be a highly successful campaign for Vinny Del Negro’s team.