Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The Clips are coming to take the town! Whooooooo, I'm so scared
By swiping Baron Davis off of the free agent market Tuesday night, the Clippers officially announced their presence in the Wild West and put pressure on the Lakers for the title of Best Team In Los Angeles.
(*sound of tires screeching*)
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. What?
By swiping Baron Davis off of the free agent market Tuesday night, the Clippers officially announced their presence in the Wild West and put pressure on the Lakers for the title of Best Team In Los Angeles?
That's what everybody says.
Take it from me, an unabashed Lakers fan: I'm not worried about the Clippers. At all.
Yeah, the Clippers have B. Diddy now and are likely to retain the services of Elton Brand as well (although it's not a lock). That gives them a presumptive starting lineup of Baron, Cuttino Mobley, Al Thornton, EB, and Chris Kaman, which is probably good for 48-wins and a playoff berth.
But enough to shake up the West and make Kobe nervous?
Maybe we all need to calm down for a second here.
At press time, Tim Thomas, Quentin Ross, and Brevin Knight are the only proven NBA players the Clippers would have coming off of the pine. I don't even think I have to say anything. Also, how willing will El Beardo be to feed the two big men down low? What about sophomore forward Thornton, a natural scorer? Will he get enough touches to progress in his second year?
I think Baron left the ideal situation for him in Golden State. Point guards are supposed to think pass-first, pass-second, and then shoot, and shoot-first lead guards like Davis and Stephon Marbury traditionally have trouble harnessing their more dominant selfish traits and meshing their talents with that of the team. In Oakland, this was not a problem for Baron. Everybody got to shoot as much as they wanted. The Warriors are the most liberated team in basketball, Nellie giving his team of scorers full offensive freedom, just like he did in Dallas. It's glorified Rucker Park. The beauty of it is the lack of structure. Baron thrived in that environment. He got to do whatever he wanted.
But now he's once again going to be asked to run a traditional, half-court offense. He's a great player and will make the Clippers much better, but his style of play could end up lowering their ceiling at the same time.
Also, can he stay healthy? He played all 82 games in a contract year last season, but prior to that he hadn't played more than 67 games in a season since 2002. I love the guy, but I wouldn't put money on him playing a full season again. Can the Clippers survive 25 games without their best player?
At best, I think the Clippers finish in the bottom half of the Western Conference playoff picture with some combination of Portland, Houston, Phoenix, Dallas, and Denver. Utah and New Orleans will be better, and the Lakers are still the cream of the crop.
Oh, yeah, the Lakers. Do you really think Kobe is going to let the Clippers take the city? Ever? Over his dead body.
But the Clippers biggest obstacle? Themselves! They're the Clippers! They're the Los Angeles Clippers, ladies and gentlemen. Let's not forget that little detail! They've had one good season, like, ever. With them, seeing is definitely believing.