Two of the most intriguing teams at the end of the regular season didn't make the playoffs. The Nets improved themselves by acquiring one of the top 10 players in the NBA and the Clippers' youth movement, led by Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon, started to bear fruit. Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher debate who'll take the next step.
Broussard takes the Nets' side (thinks their current roster gives them a ceiling of 35 wins) and naturally thinks a healthy Deron Williams is the difference. "There's no doubt in my mind that he'll make Brook Lopez much better. People bash Lopez for not getting Ws, but every big man needs a quality guard to get them the ball." He also likes Avery Johnson's ability to "squeeze wins" out the Nets.
Bucher who thinks the Nets could wind up with Dwight Howard bases his analysis on a scenario without D-12. " like where New Jersey is headed, but when I look at all the comparative parts, the Clippers are as promising as any other young team in the league. I know that idea is hard to equate with a Donald Sterling production, but that doesn't make it any less true."
Bigger jump in 2012: Nets or Clippers? - Chris Broussard & Ric Bucher - ESPN Insider