The Los Angeles Clippers Are Unlucky, But Still Relevant
The LA Clippers are in a good spot at the moment, so the title of this post may be misleading. But there comes a point that we must acknowledge that the Clippers are pretty unlucky
For the past few years, the LA Clippers have managed to hit a rough patch at some point of the season without fail. One of the first instances this happened was Chris Paul‘s long-term absence in the 2013-14 season which led to a surge in Blake Griffin‘s performance.
He became, arguably, the best point-forward in the league in Paul’s stead, and he led the Clippers with style. Griffin’s ball handling and scoring were notably better than seasons past and Doc Rivers was able to take advantage of that.
What was also so remarkable about Griffin was his ability to make those around him perform better as well.
As a matter of fact, this happens to be one of the biggest strokes of luck the LA Clippers have ever had. Griffin was an animal on the court and kept the Clippers alive as more responsibility was added to his minutes load. DeAndre Jordan has erupted into a defensive nightmare as well, and even if he still can’t make his free-throws at an efficient rate, his offense is still crucial to the Clippers’ success.
Fast forward to last season when Griffin missed half of the campaign with an injured quad, followed by a broken hand from a locker room confrontation and the workload fell on Paul and Jordan, who struggled ever so slightly to keep the Clippers afloat. The point here is that the main three players haven’t all been healthy at the same time in recent years. Griffin and Paul have both missed games in the previous two seasons and that’s been horrific for the organization’s progress.
However, there’s one thing to take away from this season: the Clippers have depth for a change.
Austin Rivers and Raymond Felton have both provided a nice boost when put into action and it’s been a huge relief for the guard situation in LA. As for the forward positions, Luc Mbah a Moute and Brandon Bass have seen the floor and continue to relieve the likes of Griffin and Jordan from being overworked. Incidentally, Marreese Speights is having one of the best shooting performances of his career with the Clippers (.451 FG% and .402 3PT%).
All these additional pieces have helped keep the Clippers from a minute rotation and has expanded Rivers’ reach for weapons on both ends of the floor. Yet, reportedly, the Clippers are still hungry for a scorer. Trade rumors surface regarding a deal with the New York Knicks, but they’ve died down for the most part. Carmelo Anthony is the primary target in this conversation, and the Clippers would have been able to retain their Big Three, which would have been incredible to say the least.
As far as we’re concerned, though, the LA Clippers are in a rut due to bad timing. Griffin returns from injury, Paul goes down with an injury. But who knows, maybe all this adversity will prove even more fruitful for the Clippers.