The Clippers Should Keep The Band Together
The old saying is, “when the times get tough, the tough get going.” Most of the time, we don’t follow those words. When things are tough, we give up, or in a less insulting way, “we go another direction.”
To be clear, the Clippers actually can’t control the decisions of Chris Paul or Blake Griffin. Those players as unrestricted free agents will make the call on their own futures regardless of what the Clippers desire. But, if it were my choice, I’d keep the band together despite what many look at as a hopeless situation.
Simply put: They’re winning.
Since CP3 arrived in Los Angeles in 2011, the Clips have won 65.8% of their regular season games. Take a glance at what they did before he got there. Actually, don’t. It’s NSFW.
Yeah, yeah, I know. They haven’t won a title. And yes, I know they haven’t advanced past the second round of the playoffs. Your argument isn’t to quit, it’s to try something different. Actually, maybe you do think they should quit, I’m not sure. I’m trying to read your mind, and that’s not easy to do.
Take a look at the Mavericks. Man, did they frustrate their fans and league followers for a decade. Just peek at 2000-2011. First round exits. Upsets (I know you remember that 67-win team that lost to the Warriors). They blew a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals. Basically lost every way a team could lose while still remaining relevant. I’m sure they thought about trading Dirk Nowitzki. But they didn’t. They kept tinkering. They knew if he was healthy, the Mavs would win 50, 55, 60 games and have a chance.
Plenty of people would say then, what they’d say now about the Clippers versus the competition in the West. What chance does Dirk or Dallas have when the Spurs and Lakers kept winning the West?
Until things finally broke their way. They added veterans, made trades, and finally found the right mix, AND the West opened up for them. The Spurs, as a #1 seed got upset by #8 seed Memphis. The Lakers, as a #2 seed broke down and broke apart. And OKC, with its young core, wasn’t quite ready. Dallas walked through the door and then upset the Miami Heat (their first trip together) in the Finals.
There it was. I’m not telling you the Clippers are going to win a title. I’m telling you just because it looks bleak doesn’t mean they won’t. Just because they’re a 3rd wheel or 4th in some years out West, doesn’t mean it won’t ever work.
I know this, if you don’t have CP3, you’re not a playoff team and discussing a title is no longer an option.
First, keep Chris Paul. Not an accident the franchise has enjoyed it’s highest points with him as the driving force. Convince him to stay.
Second, bad luck has been a major factor. Either CP3 or Blake Griffin has gotten hurt in the playoffs the last few years crushing any chance they might have had. That luck seems bound to turn.
Three, try to keep Blake Griffin, but if he insists on leaving, get something back in return. Dallas was mostly Dirk and Jason Terry, and moved other parts, important parts, to bring in other valuable pieces. Depth has been an issue for them. Maybe more is more. Dallas had an impressive group of Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, and Jet Terry, and other bit players, but the point is it was a full team of talent.
If you keep Griffin, maybe swap out Jamal Crawford, or let JJ Redick leave and sign a bigger wing who can still play instead of retreads and has-beens.
Tinker. Don’t tear down. The Warriors have 10 free agents. 10! The Spurs have 7. It’s hard to keep super teams together. Maybe the wrong role players leave. Maybe they’ll suffer a catastrophic injury in the playoffs like the Clippers have. You just don’t know.
But don’t break up a winner. Remember just two seasons ago the Clippers knocked out the reigning champion Spurs in the first round. They had a 3-1 lead in the 2nd round against Houston that same postseason that they blew that would have netted them a trip to the Conference Finals against Golden State. Just the year before they beat the Warriors in the opening round. They’ve been close, without being close.
Tweak it. Adjust it. Don’t destroy it. It’s frustrating, but it could be worse. They know what that looks like and so do you if you clicked on that scary link.