Guard Mo Williams, wrestling for possession of the ball with Oklahoma City's… (Mike Nelson / EPA )
Once he was told about his teammate's guarantee that the Clippers would reach the playoffs this season, Blake Griffin did not shy away from Mo Williams' bold statement.
In fact, Griffin embraced it and even relished the thought.
He acknowledged that it had been on his mind throughout the NBA lockout and when he worked out, not knowing when or if the season would start.
Williams said he has told all who will listen and all of the naysayers that "one thing that I can guarantee" is the Clippers will play in the postseason in 2012.
"We're right behind him in that regard," Griffin said Friday after another workout at the team's practice facility in Playa Vista. "That's the mentality and the mind-set of our whole team. That's something that I've been thinking about personally all summer.
"So I have no problems with him saying that. But at the same time we have to back that up and we have to be ready. And I think from talking to everybody, everybody is fired up and ready to go, and I think that's the direction we're headed in."
Williams, who also worked out Friday, said the Clippers have the players to take one of the eight Western Conference playoff spots.
They have an All-Star in Griffin, an emerging shooting guard in Eric Gordon and they have Williams, a former All-Star point guard who played in the postseason when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Clippers hope to have a healthier Chris Kaman at center and are looking to re-sign free-agent center DeAndre Jordan, which could give them a strong rotation in the frontcourt along with Griffin.
They have some depth with Randy Foye, Eric Bledsoe and Al-Farouq Aminu.
If the Clippers can add another quality small forward or acquire a big-name player in a trade, Williams is positive about where the Clippers are headed.
"We're going to go to the playoffs this year," Williams said. "That's what is going to happen. It's just how far we're going to go, that's what it is. But we're going to the playoffs."
Why does he feel that way?
After all, the Clippers have not made the playoffs since 2006, and their last appearance before that was in 1997.
"We've got the personnel in place," Williams said. "And I know my leadership qualities. I know how hard I worked this off-season to prepare for this, and there's no way I won't be in the playoffs this year."
Griffin had just finished another workout when he looked around as he neared an exit and joked, "Nobody sees me. Nobody sees me."
He laughed, knowing it was impossible to miss his 6-foot-10, chiseled body and because he had not talked to reporters after his workout Thursday.
Friday, Griffin shared his views on the pending collective bargaining agreement.
"First of all, I'm just happy it's over and we get to play again," he said. "As far as the agreement, I think it's better than what they were talking about [earlier in negotiations]. But I think everybody was just ready to play basketball."