There are only so many ways to explain as to why so many dislike the Los Angeles Clippers. Oh snarky, who am I kidding? There are a ton of reasons to hate them as if they married your mom and are your new stepfather. No matter, though. Not really. How we personally feel about them has little impact on how they do on the court. You thinking they’re the devil has no alterations to their field-goal percentage. At least, that’s not scientifically proven.
Since we are on that discussion; Los Angeles hasn’t been as awful as some might try to make it seem, but part of that is because of the projections the team has had, going back a few seasons now. When Chris Paul joined the fold, the now tired Lob City was coined, and with Doc Rivers eventually joining the fold, all looked like things were going to get monumentally better for the Clippers. When you add the subtraction of Donald Sterling from the entire fiasco that was the traditionally wretched place of the franchise, and it only seemed like a matter of time before they became a consistently winning team.
To be fair, they are exactly that. Year in and out they are a mostly good basketball team. It is merely that they haven’t won “enough” for us to consider everything an overwhelming success. Mostly, because of the coach and good players on the roster, we have judged each season they failed to do any postseason damage, a failure. We have done this making sure to leave the conversation void of context. How great the Spurs and Warriors (and Memphis in a different time) have been is apparently not as important in the conversation as the discussion of the failures of the Clips.
Fine. Whatever. It is what it is. Let’s avoid all nuance and talk absolutes. Eh, I digress…
This season seems to be headed toward that inevitable postseason failure as well. Los Angeles has an awful bench. Blake Griffin tried to carry the load but looks tired. DeAndre Jordan is still the limited DeAndre Jordan we have all always known. And Chris Paul is forever that guy who is half scapegoat, for all their issues, and half-lovable guy people admire despite hunting the crotches of men as if he were paid commission for completing such a task.
Another group of people, the folk who dislike Chris Paul, don’t all fall in the same category. There are some who simply dislike him because he has a tremendously obvious Napoleon complex — that is fine, I guess. The other group of them dislike him because of his lack of postseason success. They don’t want to entertain the idea of Chris Paul being great because of those failures. So, instead of using that nuance mentioned earlier, they go in absolutes. These people try as hard as they can to diminish Paul completely while ignoring how great he has actually been for the Clippers so that they can be right.
Speaking in absolutes is a horrible way to go about life. There’s no reason we can’t acknowledge the Clippers’ playoff woes — a lot of which are not Paul’s fault — and still think that Paul is a very good player. One doesn’t mean the other is unavailable for discourse.
The reason for bringing this up is because the window for the Clippers might be shutting much sooner than anyone imagined. With the Spurs likely to outlive cockroaches, the Warriors being the Warriors, OKC getting healthy and Durant getting better somehow — coupled with Doc Rivers the GM going as badly as it could possibly go and zero influx of new, different talent in sight — we have may have very well seen the last chances for Chris Paul do damage in the postseason already happen.
Save for a crazy trade, one adding new talent to LA or removing Paul and placing him elsewhere, possibly the best point guard of his generation is going to go out with no bang.
Thing is, Paul isn’t old. He’s 30. He likely has plenty of good years left in the tank. However, as it appears Rivers knows how to build a team as well as I know how to build a starship, the last few good seasons of his career are going to be wasted by playing alongside of washed-up guys, nepotism specials, and incredibly limited players that need Paul to elevate them to the point we think they are good.
So, yeah, I still really dislike the Clippers for a ton of (valid) reasons. At the same time, despite not exactly loving his personality, I am starting to feel somewhat bad for Chris Paul. My New Year’s Resolution is going to be about trying to appreciate him the most I can this season, because there’s little reason to think the ones in the future are going to get any better.