Following the addition of Chris Paul in 2012, the Clippers have seemingly reversed their history of futility and ineptitude with four consecutive trips to the playoffs. The stimulating play of their dynamic trio: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan have made the Clippers annual contenders in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. “Lob City” has reinvigorated a franchise routinely associated with losing. In fact, in their 40 year history prior to Chris Paul’s arrival, the Clippers only had seven playoff appearances and still possess the NBA’s all-time lowest winning percentage, per Basketball Reference.

It’s safe to say that the Clippers, with two pacific division titles and three 56+ win campaigns, are experiencing their greatest period of success. In recent years, they’ve appeared to be on the cusp of title contention every season. Rather, the Clippers have been perennial second-round exits. Instead of being humiliated for continually losing, they’re being criticized for not being able to win it all.

Although, what most NBA pundits don’t realize is that the Clippers have always had crucial flaws which have prevented them from getting a chip. Most notably, their depth has been horrendous over the past few seasons. According to Hoops Stats, their bench ranked 29th in scoring last season. With the exception of Jamal Crawford, the Clippers didn’t have any effective options when the starters rested. In order to compete with teams that have great depth such as Golden State or San Antonio, the Clippers have had to play their starters extra minutes and wear them out. This becomes critical in the playoffs, as the game tends to slow down and it becomes all the more necessary to have the best players fresh and healthy. The Clippers’ lack of depth could have very well attributed to their collapse in the playoffs, as they allowed the Rockets to come back from a 3-1 series deficit.

Another one of the Clippers’ issues was their glaring hole at the small forward position. Their small forward rotation consisted of Matt Barnes, Reggie Bullock, Dahntay Jones, and Jordan Hamilton, certainly not the most lethal combination. These players combined to average 16 points a game on less than 44% shooting. With Matt Barnes regressing due to age and attrition, the small forward position could easily be taken advantage of by opposing teams.

Finally, despite housing Defensive Player of the Year candidate Deandre Jordan, the Clippers have continually been a mediocre defensive team. Last season, they only finished 15th in defensive rating and 16th in opponents’ points per game. A cliche phrase in the sports world is that, defense wins championships. It holds true in the NBA as well. After all, it’s been nearly a decade since an NBA champion hasn’t ranked in the top 10 for defensive efficiency. Thus, a middling defense further contributes to why the Clippers haven’t won a title yet.

However, a bevy of moves this offseason has put the Clippers in a position to finally win that elusive title they’ve yearned for. First and foremost, the Clippers were able to retain their defensive anchor Deandre Jordan as the Mavericks nearly pried him away. Considering how mediocre their defense was already, had they lost Deandre Jordan’s rim protection and rebounding, they most likely would’ve plummeted in the NBA standings.

His importance on the offensive end also cannot be overstated. He led the league in field goal percentage with an absurdly high mark of 71%, a number that would rival Will Chamberlain’s all time mark of 72%. His above the rim play proved to be very valuable for the Clippers, as their offensive rating dropped by over 16 points when he was off the floor. Deandre Jordan augmented a Clippers team that was first in offensive efficiency.

Furthermore, he was an integral part of what was one of the NBA’s most potent starting fives last year. As Number Fire notes, the Clippers starting lineup had a net rating of 16.1. They also outscored the opposition by a combined 455 points, which topped the NBA. In keeping Deandre Jordan, the Clippers maintained their brand of high flying basketball which has made their offense so explosive and have made them contenders in previous years.

For all the good Deandre Jordan’s return will do, it’s their other moves which have arguably made them take the next step towards winning a title. This offseason, they added Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson, and Wesley Johnson to what was already a considerably strong roster. Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson, and Wesley Johnson should help shore up their deficiencies at the small forward spot. With Matt Barnes moving to Memphis, Pierce’s offensive capability can strengthen arguably the best starting line up in the league.

Paul Pierce’s veteran savvy and playoff experience with Doc Rivers adds a dimension to this team which it didn’t have before. Lance Stephenson, although enigmatic, should be able to control his ego and return to his playmaking ways under the leadership of Doc Rivers. Josh Smith proved to be a valuable rotation player for the Rockets in the postseason, averaging 13.5 points on a more than respectable 38% from three point range. His versatility at the forward position provides Blake Griffin with an effective backup, something he didn’t have with Glen “Big Baby” Davis as his primary backup.

Therefore, the Clippers have addressed what was a conspicuous concern for them in the past: their depth. They now have reliable players on the bench who are capable of playing efficient minutes when the starters need a rest. Their improved rotation should help the Clippers have fresh legs in time for the playoffs and hopefully prolong their postseason run past the second round.

Thus, the Clippers have all the pieces in place to make their run at a title. Though, as explained earlier, this doesn’t make them the title favorites. Teams like Golden State, San Antonio, and Cleveland have stronger overall rosters and should be favored. However, no one would blink an eye were the Clippers to upset any of these teams in the postseason. If online gaming is your thing then you can get the Clippers to win the NBA championship odds outright at 9/1 with casino.netbet.co.uk.

As currently constructed, the Clippers have all the components of a title contender. Maybe this is the year, Chris Paul rewrites his legacy and brings home that championship.