(CBS LA)- The Los Angeles Clippers have been one of the pleasant surprises of the NBA season.
After moving Chris Paul to Houston, trading Blake Griffin to Detroit and letting DeAndre Jordan walk in free agency, it seemed like the team was entering the beginning stages of a rebuild. The team appeared to further that idea by trading their best player, Tobias Harris, along with beloved center Boban Marjanovic to the Philadelphia 76ers prior to the trade deadline in February.
Instead, they have gone 12-3 since the All-Star break and have positioned themselves for a playoff berth with just eight games left in the season. That has fans, like actor Paul Scheer, excited about the team heading into the postseason.
“They just keep on rising up the ranks, right now they’re in the fifth spot (tied with Jazz) and are coming home off of winning 10 out of 11 games,” said Scheer when he dropped by the CBS Local studios to discuss the finale of his Showtime show “Black Monday.” “Now, they have some easy games at home, but I don’t want them to go too high.”
The reason he doesn’t want the team to get too high up in the standings is because he thinks the best matchup in the first round would be with the Portland Trailblazers. On top of that, Scheer believes a win in the first round would give the team some prestige among this summer’s potential free agent pool.
“That would be a solid matchup and they could win,” said Scheer. “They’re a scrappy team full of rascals, who I think if they can get to the second round this year, everyone wants to come here!”
Scheer is a big fan of owner Steve Ballmer, consultant Jerry West and the job that they are doing in building the team. The co-star of Black Monday is excited about the players the Clippers got back from trades and the young players they selected in the draft.
“What I like about this team, is that it feels like a team, and not one of marquee players,” said Scheer. “I don’t mean that in a derogatory way either, they are marquee to me and I feel like people always underestimate them. The energy of Pat Beverley, and when they beat the Lakers, he’s riding the press so hard. Lou Williams, he’s the sixth man of the year, Gallinari is awesome, off the bench killing it.”
Scheer sees this year’s edition of the team as the most likable group they have had in awhile because they’re fun to watch. They are also, by virtue of that more superstar-less configuration, underdogs. And, everybody loves an underdog. Combine that with the status as the “little brother” team in L.A. and that makes this season even more exciting for Scheer.
“It’s such a fun energy because, to be a Clippers fan you’re ridiculed, you’re mocked,” said Scheer. “People say ‘The Clippers suck! But, not this year, I have my shirt, should have worn it today it says ‘The best team in Los Angeles. It’s my favorite Clippers shirt.”
Watch “Black Monday” Sunday nights on Showtime.