We are delighted to have Bethlehem Shoals, our favorite basketball writer on the planet, joining us again this season to blog about the NBA season for GQ.com. With just days to go before the start of this season, Bethlehem is unloading a three-part preview. Part one is here: a snapshot summary of the three teams that got significantly better this offseason—and the three teams that got significantly worse. Here’s our man on the new-look, CP3-powered Clips:
The Clippers play in L.A., sharing a court with the august Lakers, but might as well play on the moon. That changed last year, when jet-propelled big man Blake Griffin, who missed his rookie season, put the league on notice. This month, they added Chris Paul. Think on that: The Clippers have the NBA’s best PG, and most terrifying big man not named Dwight Howard. If it’s not shades of Stockton and Malone, it’s certainly Payton-Kemp territory. Springy center DeAndre Jordan was deemed valuable enough for $10 million a year, and veterans like Caron Butler, Chauncey Bilps, Ryan Gomes, and Mo Williams provide some ballast. Barring nuclear event, this team is legit. On paper alone, that’s enough to make Clippers-Lakers a true rivalry for the first time…ever.