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Power Rankings: In wacky season, contending Clippers no shock

by | CBSSports.com Senior NBA Blogger

Griffin no longer has to carry the load in the paint as DeAndre Jordan and Kenyon Martin pitch in. (Getty Images)  
Griffin no longer has to carry the load in the paint as DeAndre Jordan and Kenyon Martin pitch in. (Getty Images)  

Updated Feb. 14

It's Valentine's Day, and that means it's time to be with the one you love, or at least love the one you're with. And with the NBA, that means coming to understand a bit more about who exactly your team is.

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We're starting to figure out ceilings on these teams, but it's the teams for which we haven't located their ceiling yet that could do the most damage.

That explains what we're seeing when looking at the Los Angeles Clippers.

If you take a through-the-looking-glass approach, depending on which side you're standing, the Clips are either a powerhouse built around Chris Paul's brilliance and surrounded by a devastating front court, or a sheep in wolf's clothing that's hiding significant issues at both ends.

I tend to land on the side of metrics, but in the Clippers' case, you have to consider the potential for this team to make a significant step forward in the playoffs. In a wacky year, with a shortened schedule and in a wide-open West, there's no reason that what the Clippers do well can't be replicated in the playoffs, spurring a deep run.

If you have to pick a horse to run with, is Chris Paul handling the ball late in a close game while the Clippers' shooters hang and Griffin draws attention that poor of an option?

The Clippers -- along with the Mavericks, Spurs and, yes, the Knicks -- have a shot at making a run -- or falling apart. We don't know. But if we're looking at highest potential ceiling, you can do worse than thinking Chris Paul and Blake Griffin can put something tremendous together in the playoffs.

Vinny Del Negro will have to surprise everyone, but in this season, who knows?


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