It was all a dream.
Just 5 years ago, the Los Angeles Clippers were seemingly in prime position to take over the NBA. With a peaking Chris Paul, a budding star in Blake Griffin, and a monster rim-protector in Deandre Jordan, the arrow was pointing all the way up. Fast forward to today, the team has failed to pass the 2nd round of the western conference playoffs, and just lost to a lower-seeded Utah Jazz in the first round. With this loss, they are the 1st team in NBA history to blow a series lead in five consecutive post seasons.
Granted, they have been hit by the injury bug year after year, this excuse simply ran its course. Yes, Blake Griffin sustained an injury to his big toe in Game 3 at Utah, and yes, it kept him out for the remainder of the playoffs. But did that really make a difference? The Clippers were not going anywhere, either way. If anything, this was merely an excuse to keep the team together for one more year. Then point fingers at the injury, all while claiming it as the reason their potential never reached its ceiling.
Fact of the matter is, Doc Rivers is a terrible coach, and an even worse GM. If not for him riding the big three in Boston to a title, Rivers would have been out the league long ago. He has literally done worse in every year he has coached the Clippers, starting with 57 wins in 2014, to 56 in 2015, then 53 in 2016, and finally, all the way down to a mediocre 51 wins in 2017.
While Coach Rivers has failed to build on his early success with the team, GM Rivers has done even worse, by not building the roster or surrounding the big three with the proper talent needed to improve. Truth be told, if not for his reputation, Rivers would have been fired long ago. At the very least, he would have been replaced as the teams GM by someone with a proven track record. The guy simply has no clue what he is doing. I knew the Clippers would lose game 7 vs. the Jazz as soon as I saw him celebrating the game 6 victory like they had just won a championship. Embarrassing.
It pretty much seems like the Clippers had us fooled. They are who we remember them as, JV status. A team that came full circle and ended up right back where they started; headed nowhere…fast. The term “wasted potential”, which was once synonymous with the Clipper franchise, has subtly stuck with the cursed organization through all the promise.
In reality, they need to blow it up ASAP. With Blake Griffin and Chris Paul having a player option for 2017-2018, Deandre Jordan is the only player signed through next season. If the Clippers organization had any sense, they would have gotten something back in a trade for Blake Griffin and Chris Paul back when they still could. More than likely, one of the two players will be leaving this summer, and probably even both. Why stay on a team headed nowhere when your prime years are coming to an end?
If Chris Paul wants a chance at a ring, he would be wise to sign with a team like the Spurs, where he could replace the aging Tony Parker.
If Blake Griffin wants a chance to resurrect his career, he would be wise to go ANYWHERE ELSE.
The only issue here is that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul literally begged Deandre Jordan to stick around back when he had a verbal agreement to bolt to Dallas in the summer of 2015. They claimed “loyalty” as the reason he should stay in Los Angeles and help them contend for a title. They promised to get him more involved in the offense. It worked, and Deandre Jordan snubbed Dallas to stick with his teammates. What seemed like a feel good story of camaraderie at the time was probably nothing more than a broken promise in the making.
It was all good just yesterday. The Clippers were covering up Laker banners in Staples Center, contending in the western conference, claiming their stake as “the new team in Los Angeles”. Their fans came out of hiding, the seats started filling up, and Los Angeles had a team in which the contrarians could finally feel safe rooting for. And all that noise for what? Nothing! It’s now the Los Angeles Lakers who got their arrow pointing up, preparing to take back whats been rightfully theirs, and keep little brother, once again, at arms length.
As for the Clippers? Lord knows…
Maybe move back to San Diego? They could use you down there.