This column appeared in the Daily Nexus under the header “He Said, He Said: The L.A. Clippers, Yay or Nay?”
If one of the people you expect to be a leader on your team is Baron Davis, your team is fucked. There. Is. No. Hope.
[media-credit id=20201 align=”alignleft” width=”203″][/media-credit]Yes, I know he’s not playing because there’s a cyst in his left knee resulting from being fat and lazy, so he isn’t really leading anybody, but it makes absolutely no difference whose name from the roster you pick out and put in Baron’s place. Here we go:
Eric Gordon: He’s probably the guy with the most legitimate chance to be the guy at this point. Gordon gets up a lot of points, but is all over the place as far as efficiency. One night, he’ll shoot 60 percent and the next 20 percent. His last game at Utah? Some stat-line gems include shooting 9-22 from the field, 0-6 from distance. Do you really believe that when a good defensive team, like those other guys from L.A. for example, lock it down in the playoffs, Eric fucking Gordon is going to be the man? Too inconsistent.
Blake Griffin: Eighteen and 11 are some beast numbers, I’m not going to lie. Those scare me as an opponent every time. Plus he gets those points with skill and finesse; he’s not a Dwight Howard, so muscularly out of control that all he can do is dunk, which means that he’ll last longer and people can’t really plan for what exactly he’s going to do against you. He’s a +19.4 in efficiency according to ESPN, but the rest of his team starts him off so low, at such a disadvantage, that he can never have nearly enough to get back on the levels of other teams. The Clippers are 25th in the league in scoring, so until Blakey puts up 30 and 20 every night, I don’t want to hear it. [Editor’s note: I’ll probably be eating my words when he does this by season’s end.]
The other guys: Ah, the Chris Kaman and the Ryan Gomes’ of the world. You’ve got to love those guys. A combined 34 percent FG (from “big men,” no less) and 12.9 boards together (Joakim Noah, who leads the league, averages 14.2 alone), plus a whole lot of crazy hair, and they don’t look like so much anymore. You know they’ll supply the hustle, the fire and the heart. Hustle is the ugly sister of talent, and you need both to be the one who steps up when it counts. The only other Clipper to start any games is Eric Bledsoe, but 8.4 points along with 2.6 turnovers doesn’t strike fear into the heart of anybody.
If you couple those with a coach that could only take frickin’ Derrick Rose to a pair of first-round playoff exits, this team simply doesn’t have a chance. Remember Baron up there? He manages to hurt you even with his ass planted squarely on the bench. The reason is his contract. Clippers ownership has three years and $41 million left to pay the man. I’d be sorry, but it really doesn’t even matter at this point.
The Clippers don’t have Los Angeles basketball fans behind them, have the wrong guys playing and, most of all, they’re balls deep in a culture of losing.
Clipper Nation has enough to worry about as a 1-6 team that’s tied with Minnesota for league doormat. I’m sure the real fans know all the numbers, because I hear they’re pretty good people. Then again, I can’t be completely sure. I’m not sure if I’ve ever really met one.