The Clippers looked tired and inconsistent last year in the playoffs and people said it was the gloomy cloud of Donald Sterling blocking out their sun. But this year it’s gonzo Steve Ballmer in the owner’s box and Doc Rivers still has a team that doesn’t perform like an elite outfit. The 4-3 Clippers might not even be the toast of LA this year, were it not for the Lakers making them so by default. There are problems.
Chris Paul is often said to be the best point guard in the league. Could be, but we’ll never know with the cast he has around him. (Besides it increasingly looks like that title is going to go to scoring point guards like Damian Lillard, who can be great doing what he does without as much support.) Blake Griffin is fun to watch in the air, but he’s like a jet: watch a jet in the hangar and you start to nod off. Griffin shooting mid-range jumpers, which he’s vowed to get better at, is like watching a parked jet. Or it’s like watching Michael Jordan play golf: he seems to love it, but it’s still not his thing. DeAndre Jordan is beautiful when he’s running and flying too. But in the post, he’s no Moses Malone. Jamal Crawford is a gifted scorer, but does he do as much as he does for the Clippers if he’s with an elite team? Yes, probably, but then they win more–an elite squad. Defensively, Doc Rivers may be the only guy on the Clippers who even recognizes what San Antonio does. And that’s a problem.