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Los Angeles Clippers, Page 2

The Most Clippers-y Clippers Team Ever

Let’s go over the laundry list of what the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Clippers accomplished this year:

  • .606: Their best winning percentage ever, years in Buffalo and San Diego included
  • 40 wins: Their 8th highest total ever…even with only a 66-game season
  • 2nd Place in the Pacific Division: Only the 2nd time they’ve ever finished that high (2006) in LA, and only the third time overall (1974-75)
  • Wins a playoff series for the 3rd time ever
  • Wins their first ever 7 game series
  • Wins a playoff Game 7 for the first time ever
  • 2 NBA All-Stars: Only the second time two players were ever selected to the All-Star team together (1976: Randy Smith & Bob McAdoo in Buffalo)
  • 2 NBA All-Star Starters: The first time any Clipper was selected an All-Star starter, let alone two at the same time
  • Chris Paul on 1st Team All-NBA: This isn’t official yet, but I would be incredibly surprised if Chris Paul wasn’t the first 1st Teamer since Bob McAdoo in 1976
  • Breaks a 17-game losing streak in San Antonio, dating back to January 31st, 2002
  • Breaks a 16-gamer losing streak in Utah, dating back to January 21st, 2004

In short, this has been the greatest Clippers season in their entire 42 year history, including their brief, but slightly more successful tenures in Buffalo and San Diego. A team who’s basketball plans always laid in the future, owner Donald Sterling finally had a squad that was ready for the present. Faced with unprecedented preseason expectations, the Clips in many ways exceeded them. Now merely dark horse pick to make a run to the NBA Finals, at one time many had lofty expectations that this team could be title contenders. They finished the season with 40 wins, good for a .606 winning percentage, slightly better than their 1974-1975 Buffalo Braves antecedents. Within those 40 W’s includes two wins that broke gigantic losing streaks in the fortresses of San Antonio and Utah, dating back nearly a decade.

Individually, two Clippers reached heights previously unimaginable by almost any duo in the past. Both Blake Griffin and the newly acquired Chris Paul (instantly the best player in franchise history upon the trade) were named All-Star starters. In Paul’s case, he’s a shoo-in for 1st Team All-NBA, with Griffin under consideration by many for 2nd or 3rd team honors. But even all the achievements as a team and as individuals couldn’t describe how prolific this particular season of Clippers basketball was.

The Griffin-coined “Lob City” was a nightly Sportscenter Top 10 highlight in waiting. With Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Mo Williams supplying the passes and DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin throwing down the dunks, the Clippers became “must-see TV” literally overnight. Griffin threw down buckets with a ferocity not seen since the days of the Reign Man, his epic flushes over Kendrick Perkins and Pau Gasol overshadowing how important both games were within the context of the season. Chris Paul, whose health had long been in question, seemed to not only be fully functional, but channeled the ghosts of Isaiah’s past. The Clips were winning, and spectacularly at that. Tickets for the red, white and blue suddenly (and shockingly) became the hottest in town. For years, Clippers seats were the ones you’d buy when your home team came to town and rather than splurge on halfway decent Lakers tickets, you bought lower bowl seats outside Staples Center for half face value. The Clippers tickets weren’t just a dime a dozen – they b… Read more...

Western Conference 2nd Round Preview

The never-ending first round of the NBA playoffs has finally concluded, with both LA teams winning some unbelievably close Game 7’s, the Lakers at home and the Clips on the road in Memphis. The matchups are set and to So Cal’s chagrin, pretty lopsided in regards to pre-game prognostication. Bummer.

But that’s why we’re here Mambinites. The MAMBINO roundtable is here once more to give our official prediction, but also why a curveball could be thrown into the works. Read on, friends.

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (5) Los Angeles Clippers: SPURS IN 6

Mr. Fundamentals will teach Blake a lesson.
BockerKnocker: I was actually trying to find reasons to pick the Clippers because it takes a true NBA nerd to appreciate the beauty of watching San Antonio play. The farther the Spurs advance, the more a casual fan turns to a flavor of the month sport like hockey. But the smart money is on Popovich and Duncan to advance to their 7th conference finals together.
When is the smart money NOT on that duo to win? Well actually, while everyone remembers their surprising defeat at the hands of Memphis last year, San Antonio hasn’t reached the WCF in four years. And while the upstart Clipshow is entering nearly uncharted territory by getting to the 2nd round, this type of finish doesn’t cut it for an organization that currently features one of the best players to ever play the game.
The Spurs demonstrated a killer instinct by brooming Utah last week, and by Tuesday’s tip-off, the veterans will have had 8 days of solid rest. On the other hand, Darrell’s favorite team is coming off of a knockdown, drag-out slugfest (always wanted to use that cliche), punctuated with a solid win in The Grindhouse. And as if San Antone didn’t need any more of an advantage, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are playing hurt. With only 1 day off before Round 2, they can’t possibly be at 100%. Paul was able to rest a little bit on defense by guarding Tony Allen, but if SA plays the Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili backcourt, I expect Paul to be attacked constantly.
I never did find that reason to pick the Clippers, and that’s probably a good thing, because we can’t stand FLOP City.
Why the Clips might only win 1 game

KOBEsh:
Because this Clippers team was extremely lucky to beat a Grizzlies team doing it’s best Walking Dead impression. Two of Memphis’ key players, Tony Allen and Zach Randolph, were operating at 70% or lower, which is only bad if you consider the fact that Allen is the team’s best defender and Z-Bo is the team’s best scorer. Oh, wait.

More importantly, in a slowed-down, epic 7-gamer, the Clips showed their true colors all over the court. With the game on the line, Vinny’s squad largely relied on momentum threes from a super streaky Nick Young, Eric Bledsoe doing an unimaginably dominant Tony Parker impression and Chris Paul being the best player in this year’s playoffs so far. Yes, I said it.

However, a hobbled Blake Griffin didn’t play the fourth quarter yesterday. Newly re-signed $45 million dollar man DeAndre Jordan was outplayed by Reggie Evans. Caron Butler is playing with a broken hand, and while it’s not affecting his shot, it’s certainly affecting his defense and ball handling. Mo Williams forgot how to play basketball. As a team, their ball-handling skills were sloppy, with 15 turnovers a game (up from 13 in the regular season) and 25 fouls per contest (up from 21). Gregg Popovich is going to dissect them with surgeon-like accuracy, making the Clips e… Read more...

WWE for a NBA Fan – Pacific Division (Part 6)

Hi, friends. Welcome back for the last installment of WWE for a NBA Fan. For those of you that don’t know, in my darkest NBA lockout doldrums, I started concocting alternative entertainment streams for those of us who missed basketball more than our own grandmothers. For a sundry of reasons, I realized that the WWE was a perfect alternative for the NBA, and for reasons that you wouldn’t think. Knowing the 30 NBA fan bases, as well as the WWE Superstars as well as I do, I identified and matched up teams with various wrestlers, division by division.

Even though we’ve been writing these posts for months to little fanfare and zero critical acclaim, Grantland’s Masked Man popularized the concept better than we could. In our 1-way rivalry with the mainstream’s best pro wrestling writer, we’re currently the Virgil to his “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Except without all the racial discrimination subtext. Hopefully.


Today, we’ll be finishing up the series by looking at the Pacific Division.  

Golden State Warriors: Jack Swagger

I love the Bay Area. Great place to visit, plenty to see and undoubtedly, a great hoops town. They know their basketball, and love their crappy team unconditionally. They’ve been privileged to see 20 years of great offense, from Run TMC to Baron to Monta to Steph. They know what ball is supposed to look like, and despite the Warriors portraying none of the game’s fundamentals, but they support them unconditionally.
But a question out to Oaktown and beyond – what if you could have a guy who is fundamentally sound? What if you could cheer for a guy with all the right tools who you can see going straight to the top? What if you didn’t have to watch an entertaining, yet vitally flawed team that will never quite give you the hoops you deserve? That would be nice, wouldn’t it? So that’s why you’re rooting for Jack Swagger.
A product of Perry, Oklahoma, Swagger comes straight from the wrestling program at the University of Oklahoma. After learning and perfecting grappling collegiately, Swagger entered the ranks of the professionals in the WWE. He’s already won the World Championship, and with his improving mic work augmenting his already prodigious skill set in the ring, more title reigns are certain to follow. Like the young player the Warriors seem to perpetually attain, Swagger is gifted and ready for the future. However, unlike them, he has the tools to take him and keep him at the top. The Golden State Swaggers? Sounds good to me.

Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Jericho


Writing this hurts me more than I can possibly bear. Chris Jericho has long been my favorite WWE superstar, and the Clippers have always earned by most sincere bile and hatred. Still, even through my haze of detest, I can’t deny the comparisons.


Chris Jericho is a six-time World Champion. He’s competed in federations all around the world, winning titles in every single one of them. He’s recognized as one of the greats of his generation, alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Mick Foley, and The Undertaker.


However, next to those names, Jericho runs at a distant 2nd tier. Somehow, Y2J’s massive accomplishments and talent haven’t put him quite at the level of those guys I just mentioned. Austin, The Rock, Hunter, Foley, and the Undertaker have all transcended past the characters that they played on TV, and became larger than wrestling figures. They are household names, guest stars on television sRead more...

MAMBINO’s Western Conference Round 1 Playoff Predictions

Unlike the electric first round of the NHL playoffs, the NBA’s first round probably won’t go into 16 overtime games, nor will there be the type of seismic upsets like the 8th seeded Kings beating the best team in the NHL, the Vancouver Canucks. However, amidst the much more predictable nature of the National Basketball Association are some pretty dynamic first round matchups. Other than being entertained by the extra ton of passion that the sometimes lethargic basketball professionals lack from their game, we’ll get 4 series from the Western Conference that could go 6 games or more. This compacted 66-game season created a slightly skewed final finish, with teams seeded lower than you’d think, and every series more about the matchup rather than the seeds designated to the teams. The setting for the ever-enticing upset is ripe. Welcome to the most wonderful time of the year.

Check our Western Conference 1st round predictions, MAMBINO-style:

1) San Antonio Spurs vs. 8) Utah Jazz – San Antonio in 6 games

BockerKnocker: There isn’t a team with more basketball IQ than the San Antonio Spurs. Coach of the Century candidate Gregg Popovich is sure to impose his will over any team, but Tim Duncan is one of the greatest big men in NBA history. He ran roughshod through the league on his superb talent, and has extended his career by understanding his body’s limitations and outsmarting his opponents season after season. The Jazz present a boatload of problems with their bruising frontline, but before people call Memphis on this shindig, Manu Ginobili will (knock on wood) be available to take advantage of Utah’s biggest weakness: their perimeter defense. San Antonio will NOT be embarrassed 2 years in a row. This series is for the NBA nerds: Popovich will attempt a blitzkrieg checkmate, the Utah frontline will try to counter by getting rough, but Utah’s coaching staff will be overmatched.

How Utah can morph into the 2011 Memphis Grizzlies and win this series: It’s a bit of a broken record at this point, but you know how the Grizz beat the Spurs in last year’s playoffs; sheer size. Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Darrell Arthur blitzed the Spurs inside for a convincing 8 seed vs. 1 seed matchup. However, what everyone forgets is how dynamic their guard play was. Tony Allen locked up Tony Parker and brought him down from 51% shooting during the regular season to 46% in those 6 games. Mike Conley almost outperformed Parker, averging 14/5/6. OJ Mayo shot 40% from the 3 point line!

To win, not only do Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap and Enes Kanter have to outmuslce San Antonio, but Gordon Hayward, Devin Harris and CJ Miles have to create havoc on the perimeter both defensively and offensively. Essentially, the Jazz have to play up to their capabilities, as they have the past few weeks. It’s possible.

2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 7) Dallas Mavericks – Oklahoma City in 7 games

BockerKnocker: OKC is going to have a game or two in this series where you’ll doubt their status as a championship contender, and rightfully so. Their offense is incredibly basic, especially in the fourth quarter, when head coach Scotty Brooks’ version of thinking outside of the box means setting an off-ball screen for Durant or Westbrook, instead of an on-ball screen. Dallas is full of cagey veterans and Vince Carter (not a compliment). Dirk will need a herculean performance for the Mavs to win, and with a younger, stronger Serge Ibaka shadowing him all series, it is … Read more...

The Rise and Fall of Blake Griffin’s Likeability


Last year, if you asked a random NBA fan to describe Blake Griffin, you’d hear people in awe of his athletic accomplishments. Human highlight film. Incredible dunker. Athletic wunderkind. Freak of nature. In other words, most people’s impressions of Blake Griffin came from Sportcenter’s Top 10 and his YouTube highlights. This year, it’d be a different story entirely. You’d still hear about his dunking, but you’d also hear him called a whiny brat. Coddled superstar. Showboat. How did this dramatic 180 happen so fast, taking place over a few months instead of the years it usually takes an NBA player to establish themselves as a reviled villain?

A Promising Beginning

In many ways, Blake Griffin is a feel good story that should be celebrated around the league. He’s a kid from Oklahoma City who played ball at Oklahoma, his local university. He even returned for an entirely unnecessary second year of college, averaging an unbelievable 22.7 points, 14.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. He was a unanimous All-American who swept all six of the National Player of the Year Awards. Blake even carried his team on a run deep into the tournament before losing to eventual champion North Carolina.

At the NBA draft, something amazing happened: Blake Griffin was able to give the Clippers hope for the future. The Clippers, of 0 NBA titles, 0 Western Conference titles, and (impressively) 0 Pacific Division titles, suddenly had someone so talented that he could turn the franchise around. In a draft packed with talent like James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, and Hasheem Thabeet (ha-ha), it was a no brainer to take Blake Griffin at number one. His career started off with a bang and Blake was the Summer League MVP by a large margin. I remember watching him dismantle the Lakers summer squad with an athleticism and ferocity that surpassed anything I had expected. Then, the most Clippers-esque event of his career happened in the last preseason game: he landed on his kneecap and had season ending knee surgery before he could play a single game.

YouTube Sensation on the Rise

The 2008-2009 Clippers stumbled to a 19-63 finish without Blake, but hope was on the horizon. Although the 2009-2010 incarnation won only 29 games, Blake left a hell of a mark on the franchise and created buzz in Clipperland which exceeded that of their last playoff team, a promising squad led by MVP candidate Elton Brand. He was a walking Top 10 play that was exceptional to watch on ESPN every night. His leaping ability and relentless attacking created an unparalleled series of dunks that simply dominated the Internet. He was the talk of the league and if you haven’t seen his dominant performance at the 2011 Dunk Contest, drop everything and watch this now.

He wasn’t just a dunker though. Griffin was also the first rookie All-Star reserve voted in by the coaches since Duncan and won all six rookie of the month awards. He amazingly played 82 games and was the first rookie to average the vaunted 20/10 since Brand himself. Off the court, he was witty and likable. He lent his charm to Funny or Die’s hysterical arsenal of videos and the Norm Macdonald show. The dude seemed poised for a meteoric rise to the top of the NBA, both in terms of on the court performance and fan adoration.


Unexpected Downfall

This year, Blake Griffin has continued his on-court ascent, making the Clippers a legit free agency destination and starting at power forward in the 2012 NBA All-Star game. After Chris Paul joined the circus, the Clippers went from entertaining to “Lob City,” must-see TV that i… Read more...

Winners and Losers of the NBA trade deadline

KOBEsh went to Vegas this past weekend. While there, he decided to spend some time writing about the NBA trade deadline’s winners and losers. His dedication is shameful yet endearing.


This post is probably a touch outdated, but the man wants the post run based on principle alone.



WINNERS

Los Angeles Lakers

As we went over last week, the Lakers definitely scored big at the deadline. They desperately needed a point guard, and Ramon Sessions might have been the best case scenario for them, especially without giving up one of their three All-Stars. While Jordan Hill wasn’t the best solution for their need of a scorer off the bench, hopefully he’ll be able to give LA half of what near-Laker Michael Beasley would have given them. Subtracting Derek Fisher will have an effect on chemistry,  especially with Kobe and the other vets, but he had to be dealt to diffuse an almost certain caustic situation in terms of point guard minutes. A huge win for the Lakers, one that maybe could transform them into a title contender.

Orlando Magic

How could they not be? Let’s not even get into Dwight’s imitation of a drunk 19 year-old who “kinda wants to get down tonight, but I don’t know, my friends are here and I’m sooooooooo drunk” that he’s pulled the last few days. As I said to Mambino correspondent El Miz yesterday, it’s amazing that these players seem to concerned with their brand, and yet, not at all concerned that the circus they creates far more damage than any move could provide improvement.

Regardless, Orlando is a huge winner here. They somehow (I’m still not sure. Did they have naked pictures of him and Jameer together? Did they threaten to kill his dog? What happened?) convinced Dwight to stay for another year and a half, in which GM Otis Smith will have to pull a flock of rabbits out of his butt to make this team a contender. Regardless of whether he does that (amazing) feat or not, he has bought himself another year (until the next trade deadline) to prove to D12 that this team is worthy of him committing for another 5 seasons.

San Antonio Spurs

In a trade with the Warriors, the Spurs flipped SF Richard Jefferson for a new addition SF Stephen Jackson, who had arrived in a deal from the Bucks only days earlier . As I mentioned a few days ago, Jackson is having one of his worst seasons in years, though I would put a lot of the onus on the fact that he was playing in a system his skills weren’t best suited to, for a coach who he didn’t get along with. Jax won a title with the Spurs almost a decade ago in 2003, and famously fell in line with Greg Popovich in, what had been until then, a rocky NBA career full of trouble. Jefferson has become more and more ineffective each year, and 2012 is no different. At his best, Jackson is a gigantic upgrade over the Spurs, and even at his age (33), is still a threat to score, rebound and pass with tremendous efficiency. A great acquisition for the Spurs, who are quietly angling for title number 5.

Washington Wizards

JimmyWa’s reaction to getting Nene.

In a three-way trade with the Clippers and Nuggets, the Washington Wizards acquired Brian Cook and Nene for the price of Nick Young, an injured Ronny Turiaf and the unintentionally hilarious JaVale McGee. I couldn’t sum this up any better than friend of the blog and last Wiz fan standing, AO:

“Holy crap, this is awesome! We’re turning Nick Young and Javale McGee into Nene!! At this point can we keep the momentum going and just ban Andray Blatche from all Wizards facilities?  Honestl… Read more...

Goodbye Clipper Darrell – Another Example of the Classless Clippers

I have always hated the Clippers. Living in Los Angeles for the better part of 22 years, regardless of my general subdued disdain for the team that consistently stains the otherwise pristine sports reputation of my fair city, there were always on the periphery of the daily newspaper or evening news. They’d creep in just below the fold, or on the concluding muffled sentence of a sportscaster’s lips. I’d get little bits of news and notes on them no matter how hard I tried to forget their existence.

I tried to forget they existed because stories like today’s always made me more upset than I had any reasonable cause to be. I’ve heard so many anecdotes regarding their idiotic front office or disgraceful owner Donald Sterling, that tuning it out was all I could do to keep my sanity in check.

Today, the team cut any and all ties with their biggest fan. And I couldn’t be more upset.

Clipper Darrell, born Darrell Bailey, is the self-professed biggest Clippers fan alive. As the story goes, nearly 15 years ago Darrell, an electrician, was fired, with his boss throwing this parting shot at him: “you’ll never amount to anything”. Darrell went home feeling terrible, and in what I can only assume was and act of self-pitying masochism, he turned on a Clippers game. As Darrell heard the announcers running another lifeless loss from the Clippers, he heard them similarly say that the team would “never amount to anything”. In that moment, he decided to be a Clippers fan, pledging that the two would “rise together”.

Whether that story is true or not, I’ll never know. But what is true is how Darrell’s fanatacism over the next decade is nearly unmatched by any other fan in the NBA.

This is what Clipper Darrell looks like. 

This is what his car looks like. That he spent $12,000 to customize.

He has been to every single game since the 2000-2001 season. He has witnessed, either in his seat rows up from the basket or on his television at home, over 540 Clippers losses. He has seen countless rebuilding efforts, as well as over a dozen lottery picks come and go from the organization. In spite of all of the losing and pathetic play he’s been privy to, Clipper Darrell has remained as enthusiastic as ever, cheering louder and longer than anyone could feasibly expect from him.

Earlier this week, the Clippers organization asked Darrell Bailey to discontinue the use of the “Clipper Darrell” name, as they interpreted it as an infringement on their copyrights. Darrell released a statement on his blog filled with sadness and confusion, rather than anger or spite. Through this all, he seems to maintain an unwavering allegiance to the team he loves so much:

Subject: I AM DEVASTATED

It is with great sadness that I must report to all those in NBA NATION that I have been told by Clipper management they no longer want me to be Clipper Darrell, a name that was given to me by the media because of my unwavering support and team spirit. I am devastated!!!!

I have been a season ticket holder for over a decade and a FAN for over 15 years and have dedicated a major part of my life to support the Clipper organization and it’s players no matter what the season’s outcome. Over the years (400 home games) I have gone to great lengths to show my appreciation and loyalty in my attire, the car I drive and in my very own home. I’ve taken seriously the mantra of being “Clipper Darrell” in performing community service, mentoring young children and my participation in outrea

Read more...

Clippers Curse is Real: Billups out for the year

This is the part where I would usually do my “Life and Times of the Los Angeles Clippers”, exhaustively detailing the most ridiculous and painful moments in San Diego turned Los Angeles Clippers history. With the news of Chauncey Billups’ season-ending Achilles tear coming to light this afternoon, I would have just another footnote to write with some hilariously appropriate jab for LA’s ugly red-headed stepchild. As a life-long Angeleno, I’ve had a front seat view as the Clips have taken what should be a luxury automobile and repeatedly crashed it head first into a brick wall, only to be repainted with the same red, white and blue colors whose stink can only be identified with one putrid source. They’re best known for being the butt of late-night television punch-lines, or one of the first ten names David Stern reads in June. Of course I think of them as a pathetic joke, but mostly I view them as a sports tragedy. In a hotbed of basketball in the second biggest market in country, the infinite resources that other small market teams would kill for are routinely wasted at the hands of an owner who knows how to do nothing but kill what he has. I’ve gone on record as saying how despicable Donald Sterling is as an owner, but I truly think it’s his flaws as a human that lead to the Clippers Curse.

Unfortunately, Simmons already did the “Life and Times of the Los Angeles Clippers” better than I ever could have. If you even get halfway through his “open letter to Blake Griffin”, you’ll see that the Clips’ history is littered not just with missteps by ownership or management, but also freak occurrences that seem to happen time and time again. A lot of people like to say that curses aren’t real, that things happen in sports, and there are so many complexities involved with having to appease millions of constituents. But I think if you read what has happened to the Clippers over the past 30 years, you’ll see that it can’t just be bad luck and the consequence of following a physical sport. No Clippers boon can bloom without it withering away and rotting soon thereafter. Just to be a completist, I’ll pick up where Simmons left off, the summer of 2009.

July, 2009: The Clippers trade Zach Randolph to the Memphis Grizzlies. Randolph would blossom in Memphis, becoming an All-Star and one of the most efficient power forwards in the league.

October, 2009: After a thunderous break-away dunk in a meaningless preseason game, rookie phenom and future All-Star Blake Griffin comes down on his left knee hard, creating a stress fracture in his left patella. This injury leaves the first overall pick out for the season.

February, 2010: With another disastrous losing season already locked up, the Clippers GM/Coach Mike Dunleavy steps down from his coaching duties, though keeping his title as GM.

March, 2010: For the second time in a month, the Clippers fire Mike Dunleavy, this time as GM of the team. Dunleavy reportedly finds this out through internet reports and friends, rather than the organization. You stay classy, Donald Sterling.

April, 2010: Dunleavy reports that despite having a guaranteed contract that runs through the end of the 2011 season, the Clippers had stopped paying him, on the grounds that he voluntarily resigned from his duties. The amount is roughly $6.5 million dollars.

February, 2011: Blake Griffin is named as an All-Star reserve, the Clippers first representative since Elton Brand. He also is selected for the dunk contest during All… Read more...

Burning Question #6: Are the Clippers a title contender?

Merry Christmas! For your gift (besides this wonderful blog we do for free…you thankless sack), you will be magically transported to an alternate universe where the Los Angeles Clippers are the talk of the town. In this make-believe land of pretend, the Clips will be predicated as a playoff team by all, and a title contender by most. Chris Paul, the best point guard in the game, will be roving the perimeter, throwing dishes to energetic bigs Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, with All-Stars Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups and Mo Williams bombing from distance. As we drop further into insanity and delusion, this fantasy Clippers team will be talking trash to their 16-time locker room neighbor Lakers, even though they’ve competed in two exhibition games, had 7 days of training camp and won approximately nothing. But now Christmas is over, and your gift is over. Time to return to reality, where all of this really happened.

WHAT THE EFF? THIS ALL REALLY HAPPENED? WHEN? WHERE? HOW? HUH???

That sums up my feelings on how I feel about the Clippers. I can’t believe this happened, and I buy some of the hype, but not all of it. In fact, I can’t believe that I even had to use “Are the Clippers a title contender?” as a title for a post. Let’s get after it, shall we, friends? And for real, Merry Christmas.

Why is this even a question?

Because the Clippers acquired Chris Paul, Blake Griffin is a mack truck in the form of an ugly human being, the team re-signed DeAndre Jordan and acquired Mo Williams, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler. In that, they have two of the best 15 players in the league, a top-5 center and 3 guys in Mo, Billups and Butler that have been to the Finals (though Caron was sitting for his trip). They have the most talented backcourt in the league, and arguably the best starting frontcourt in the West.
The Clippers gave up a lot for Chris Paul, but what this says most to me is the tremendous depth that the team had before the trade. Even after giving up Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu and Chris Kaman, the team still seems as loaded as ever. As amazing as it is, the Clippers have more former All-Stars in their starting lineup (four) than the Lakers have on their entire roster (three). Even in my most vehement Lakers-induced disdain for the Clippers, I have to say that this is one of the best 8 teams in the league. Wow. I just threw up.

How will this play out?

I just listed all the strengths of this team, and believe me, there are many. But looking past the highlight reels of Lob City, the ballyhooed acquisition of Paul and the sexy story of the bridesmaid Clippers perhaps becoming the starring attraction in a city shared with the Dodgers and Lakers, this team has some serious problems.

No frontcourt depth: The recent signing of Reggie Evans was a great move by GM Neil Olshey, but as LeBron, Wade and Bosh showed in last year’s Finals, even the youngest and most athletic of legs will wear down over a 82 game season. What happens when you put those legs through a 66 game sprint with a three-man rotation? Evans is a solid piece and a definite rotation player, but in order for Blake and DeAndre to play less than 40 minutes a night, they need another big man to sop up the minutes to preserve something for the playoffs (and this isn’t even taking into account Jordan’s penchant for fouling the CRAP out of guys).

Lack of continuity: These guys haven’t played together. Granted, if there ever was going to be a player to bring your team together in a 10-day span, it would be Chris Paul. However, Butler, Billups and CP3 are all b… Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers

I’ve always heard that the emotional, initial snap judgment that any person ever has is usually the most rational and sound reaction possible. That all being said, let’s get on with the tradition of MAMBINO’s instant analysis. Chris Paul has just been traded to the Los Angeles Clippers of Anaheim. Wow.

Clippers get: G Chris Paul
New Orleans gets: G Eric Gordon, F Al-Farouq Aminu, C Chris Kaman, Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 1st round draft pick

As a condition to the trade, Chris Paul has to opt-in to his 2012-2013 player option that will pay him roughly $18 million dollars. With the re-upping of DeAndre Jordan and the contract of Caron Butler, the Clippers are up chafing against the salary cap and no doubt making owner Donald Sterling sweat blood.

I see a couple ramifications of this trade, many of which make my heart sad. Let’s get on with them:


1) First and foremost, this makes David Stern right to block the Lakers-Houston-New Orleans deal last week as “owner” of the Hornets. I was so disgusted with myself for typing that that I just became one of the 99% and pepper-sprayed my own face.

The haul of Gordon and the first rounder alone is better than a Luis Scola/Lamar Odom/Goran Dragic/Kevin Martin package. I’ve watched Eric Gordon for years as a part of my hopeless NBA addiction (thus leading me to watch Clips games whenever the Lakers weren’t on) and I could see the guy morphing into a Brandon Roy type of two-guard. He loves playing defense, cutting to the rim, getting physical and has an almost unreasonable amount of confidence. However, even more versatile than Roy, Gordon is a reliable sharp shooter with a quick release.

With an expected starting lineup of Jarrett Jack – Eric Gordon – Trevor Ariza – Emeka Okafor – Chris Kaman, New Orleans will no doubt be one of the worst teams in the league. But with two lottery picks and a bunch of young guys with upside, I’d expect this team to be at least decent in 3 or 4 years, when they’ll probably be relocated to Seattle or Kansas City. Unlike the Lakers’ deal, this gives the team great assets going forward, as opposed to two front court players in their thirties and Kevin Martin, who has already proven he’s not a player to build around. David Stern knew there was a better deal to be had, stayed patient and he definitely got it. More pepper spray, please.

2) Clippers: This represents a huge gamble for the Clips. They raided their depth and gambled their future on a guard with a bad knee supporting a front court star with equally bad knees (is this just word for word the same post as last week?). In giving up Gordon, Aminu and what is sure to be a top 10 pick in a loaded draft, the Clippers are in ultimate “win-now” mode. They have two years to convince Chris Paul and Griffin to stay (Paul will be an unrestricted free agent and Blake will have the right to sign a long term extension), and every single move they make has to be of the right now kind. The margin for error is slim, and I’m sure Paul and Blake are thinking that anything other than a playoff series win (or maybe two) is not acceptable.

Their starting lineup on Christmas Day will most likely look something like this:

PG Chris Paul
SG Chauncey Billups
SF Caron Butler
PF Blake Show
C DeAndre Jordan
Bench: G Mo Williams, G Randy Foye, G Eric Bledsoe, F Ryan Gomes, F Brian Cook

This leaves the Clips razor thin upfront, with their next best front court options being Ryan Gomes (who’s 6’7″) and Brian Cook, who hasn’t had a re… Read more...