The LA Clippers went into the 2014–2015 NBA seasons with high hopes for a franchise-best season, maybe including a legitimate title shot. Instead, over the first 14 games of the season, they are a disappointing 9-5, and sitting three games behind the Pacific Division leading Golden State Warriors. At this time last season, the Clippers were an identical 9-5, and on Thanksgiving Day, they were 11-5. But, Golden State was 9-8, as were the Lakers and Phoenix, and the Clippers were in first place in the division with a 2-1/2 game lead, instead of being three games out. Perhaps some stats can partially
|explain the team's seeming regression. |
Last season, the Clippers averaged 107.9 points per game. So far this year, that number is down to 103.3. Every returning regular is down in their per-game scoring average from last season, but bench scoring shows an even bigger deficit. The starters:
2013-2014 Per Game Average
2014-2015 Per Game Average
|J. J. Redick||15.2||12.3|
Looking at the bench, there are more striking differences. At point guard for example, last season’s back-up Darren Collison scored 11.4 points per game, but he did average 25.9 minutes per game, due to starting numerous games for an injured Chris Paul. But, this years’ back-up to Paul, Jordan Farmer, who has played great defenses, distributed the ball well and run the offense more than competently, has been in a scoring slump, and in 14.1 minutes per game, has averaged only 3.7 per game. At back-up small forward, last year’s part time starter and part time reserve, Jared Dudley, score 6.9 points a game in 23.4 minutes. This year, that spot has been a wasteland, with Reggie Bullock and Chris Douglas-Roberts in a combined 22.1 minutes a per game producing 5.3 points. But, Dudley hit 43% of his shots. Bullock and Douglas-Roberts are hitting a combined 31%. Even sixth-man star certified shooter Jamal Crawford is slightly down from last season, 18.6 to 18.2.
Seemingly small and subtle changes can make a big difference. A two-point differential can makes the difference between who wins and loses a given game, and the stats are showing that the Clippers have not been quite as effective this season as compared to last year.