End of an era

With the trade of Blake Griffin yesterday the Clippers ended the most successful era in the history of the franchise.  In 2009 the Clippers won the lottery and picked the best player in the draft Blake Griffin. In typical Clipper fashion, Blake would fracture his kneecap in the preseason and miss the entire 2009/2010 season.  It felt like Danny Manning all over again but this time the prodigy came back as healthy and athletic as before and changed the history of the franchise.

He didn’t do it by himself. It took the appearance of Chris Paul in 2011/2012 and the emergence of Deandre Jordan to solidify the Clippers as a perennial postseason team. From 2011/2012 until 2016/2017 the Clippers won over fifty games every year. They had some memorable postseasons but none that got them into the Western finals. They were the last Western team to beat the Golden State Warriors in the 2014 postseason. Injuries always seemed to rise up at the wrong time leaving either Chris Paul or Blake Griffin unable to perform at their peak during the postseason. I don’t think we’ll ever know how good the best Clipper teams were because we never got to see them healthy for an extended postseason run.

I’m going to miss Blake Griffin but he was never my favorite Clipper. I enjoyed his immense athleticism, his work ethic, and his sense of humor in his Kia ads. I didn’t enjoy his constant whining but I have to say having watched him play just about every game since he showed up, he sure seemed to be a punching bag for the league so while the whining was annoying, it was understandable. He was a formidable scoring option and in the beginning, consistently gave us plays we’d never seen before. Injuries take a toll and since Blake missed substantial time every season, you could see the result on the floor.  It didn’t take a brain surgeon to notice that he will be an old basketball player when he hits 30.

Some highlights of Blake courtesy of Lucas Hann at ClipperNation.

Blake Griffin should have owned this town, but as Chris Paul found out at Dodger Stadium his first year, this is not a Clipper town. It doesn’t matter that they sold out for five years in a row, the pecking order is still Lakers, Dodgers, Kings, … Clippers.  Six years of winning didn’t make a dent in the sports psyche of Los Angeles.  The only thing that would have changed the landscape would have been an improbable World Championship.  It didn’t happen and Blake can now take his game to Detroit.

As Blake heads to Detroit he’ll do so as the all-time Los Angeles Clipper points leader. I’ll probably be dead and he’ll still be the all-time LAC points leader.

                   Crit Tota  Tota Tota Tota Tota Tota
Player              PTS    G    MP  TRB  AST  STL  BLK
Blake Griffin     10863  504 17706 4686 2133  484  277
Elton Brand        9336  459 17595 4710 1242  438 1039
Corey Maggette     8835  512 15780 2673 1229  421   93
Chris Paul         7674  409 13885 1733 4023  902   54
Danny Manning      7120  373 12676 2399 1132  548  406
DeAndre Jordan     6675  717 20033 7468  493  429 1248
Loy Vaught         6614  558 15671 4471  607  468  211
Ken Norman         6432  439 13584 2916  964  403  346
Ron Harper         5853  304 11458 1678 1463  606  266
Chris Kaman        5813  493 14661 4109  635  238  707
Jamal Crawford     5675  370 10310  684  971  310   65
Benoit Benjamin    5405  406 12724 3538  776  316 1117
Eric Piatkowski    5269  616 12655 1520  674  353  106

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/30/2018.

In a few days, we will know what the Logo is planning for the team. What will they get for Deandre Jordan and Lou Williams? What other pieces will they sell? What do they get back?

The Clippers haven’t been relevant in the draft since the winning began in 2011 starting with the ill-fated traded of our number one pick to the Cavaliers that turned into Kyle Irving.  This year we already have two number one picks. They could both end up being Lottery picks or not. Both the Pistons and Clippers could still make the postseason.

I have faith that the Logo did the right thing. I loved the trade of Chris Paul. The last thing I wanted was to be paying an old point guard max money. I was a little shocked at the return they got for a player who can walk at the end of the year in Houston.  Patrick Beverly was supposed to be the centerpiece but Lou Williams has been outstanding.  I understand them trading Blake. Even as he improved his outside shot so that he is a credible option at the three, his defense will continue to erode as he ages, and it is not very good now.

The Logo is giving Clipper fans a new future, but Clipper fans can remember the Blake Griffin era and smile because he gave us many great individual basketball moments.


1 Comment

  1. 68elcamino427


    I thought that clubhouse attendant was the punching bag?

    The Clippers gave it a whirl with Paul, Jordan and Griffin.

    Ballmer + West = Future success.

    Unlike the Buss mis-lead Lakers.

    The Lakers might never be as good as the Clippers again.


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