The Clippers have been pretty good the last four seasons, going 40-26, 56-26, 57-25 and 56-26 the last four seasons. But they’ve also won only one, zero, one and one playoff series in that span.
What do they need to get over the hump?
Newly acquired Clippers guard Lance Stephenson, via Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
“They’re just missing that guy that’s tough and doesn’t bow down to no one,” Stephenson said of the Clippers.
I suppose Stephenson thinks he’s that guy.
But I don’t think the Clippers had a huge need for that guy. Matt Barnes, traded for Stephenson, was pretty tough. So is Chris Paul. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan have made huge gains in that area.
The Clippers need a better bench. More to the point, they need Stephenson to play closer to his final season with the Pacers than his lone season with the Hornets. If he does, he’ll provide a huge boost as a reserve.
Stephenson’s toughness is a nice asset and a big part of who he is. But his productivity is questionable – and that’s what the Clippers really need.
The could also use someone who doesn’t alienate his new teammates by saying they aren’t tough enough. I’m not sure Stephenson is off to the best start.
If he plays well, though, I’m sure everyone will forgive and forget.