Disaster Looms in Lob City

Jonathan Manjarrez, Staff Writer


The Los Angeles Clippers were for many years the laughing stock of the NBA prior to the acquisition of point guard, Chris Paul. Before acquiring Chris Paul, the Clippers had only made the playoffs once in the fifteen years prior. Following their first round exit against the up-start Utah Jazz led by up and coming star Gordon Hayward, many NBA analysts and fans are questioning whether its time to split up the core of the Clippers.

The Clippers have made the playoffs every year since they acquired Chris Paul. The first year after the acquisition of Chris Paul, the Clippers boasted a 40-26 record and advanced to the Western Conference semi-finals in the playoffs and have been a regular season powerhouse since. The Clippers flashy and athletic play has not translated to the playoffs and have blown series leads in every playoff series since the acquistion of Paul. The Clippers had a 2-1 series lead against the Utah Jazz before they ultimately lost in seven games and failed to make it to the second round.

Many followers of the Clippers have hope that the Clippers can regain the momentum that they attained when Paul was signed and the moniker, Lob City, was assigned to them. But after recent off court incidents and the regression of play with power foward, Blake Griffin, this offseason looks like the best time to either attain better and younger players for Griffin or let him go in free agency along with his hefty contract. Griffin isn’t look much like an elite power forward who can stretch the floor nor crash the boards as of recent play. The evolution of NBA power forwards who can lethal jumpers outside the paint and even be deadly from three point range is also part to blame in the decline of his play. The easiest task for the Clippers this offseason would be to offer Paul the max contract which would be close to a five or six year deal and pay him the maximum of $200 million plus. Paul is turning 32 next week but he is the missing piece that helped the Clippers change from laughingstock to Lob City.

Doc Rivers, the Clippers head coach, also looks like he could be making his way out of the bright lights of Tinseltown and looking for another head coaching job with a promising young core. Many analysts have been led to believe that Rivers would make his way back to Orlando where he started his front office trek through the NBA. The Orlando Magic have a somewhat promising young core led by Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton. It would not be far fetched for Rivers to leave the Clippers depending on what management does with their star studded core.

The decisions ultimately lie on Microsoft billionaire, Steve Ballmer, who bought the Clippers at the peak of their Lob City success. Ballmer was once viewed as the savior of the Clippers’ franchise when he bought them after the release of their former racist owner, Donald Sterling. Sterling was let go by the Clippers after the release of many tapes filled with statements from him and his disapproval of black people at his Clipper games.

Ballmer, the former savior can easily send the Clippers back to the dismal black hole that they once came from depending how he handles this star-studded core. It will be an interesting offseason in Lob-City.