Thursday , Aug , 30 , 2012 Matt Formica

Attention Western Conference: Take the Clippers Seriously

Attn Western Conference:  Take the Clippers seriously

A healthy Los Angeles Clippers team could be a very tough one to beat.

Hoopsvibe’s Quick Call:  They may be in a stacked Western conference, but don’t sleep on the Clipshow this season.

Both Clippers superstars, point guard Chris Paul and center Blake Griffin, underwent surgeries this offseason.  Paul just had surgery on his thumb a few days ago and is said to be out eight weeks.  Regardless, he will be ready for the start of this upcoming season.

Griffin, who had knee surgery on July 16th after doctors discovered a meniscus tear in his knee that forced him to miss this summer’s London Olympics, came out and said Tuesday that he is 100% healed and ready to go.

“I’m doing all my normal movements,” Griffin said.  “I feel like I’m at 100 percent.”

The Clippers All-Star center has been training and rehabbing hard all summer, after he signed a five-year contract extension with the franchise in July that could be worth up to $95 million.

Not being able to participate in the Olympics forced the 7-footer to work on areas of his game, mainly his jump shot and free throws, that needed to improve.  Griffin said he spent time “trying to become a more complete player, working on my shot and working on free throws.”

Last season, Griffin shot an impressive 54.9% from the field but a not-so-impressive 52.1% from the free-throw line.

And once Paul and Griffin are fully healthy, they are going to be complimented by some strong new talent.  In addition to extending Griffin’s contract, the Clippers re-signed Chauncey Billups, brought in Lamar Odom (who I think will be much better with the Clippers than he was with the Mavs), as well as Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill, Willie Green, Ronny Turiaf and Ryan Hollins.  Keep in mind, they also have DeAndre Jordan, Kenyon Martin, Caron Butler and Eric Bledsoe, all who have made an impact in the past.

“This year we want to take a step forward and I think the pieces that we’ve added, the guys we have returning and the work guys have put in this offseason have been tremendous.  We look to take that next step as a franchise,” Griffin said.

Translation:  The Clippers aren’t like they used to be.

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Image source:  AP images