Seismic shift hits Los Angeles
Even though Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers had been rumored for well over a year by well-respected sources I don’t think many Clipper fans really felt it would happen. As Clipper fans have heard every day for forever, no superstar will ever WANT to play for the Clippers. My wife just came home from Dallas where her cousins ridiculed the idea that Kevin Durant would consider the Clippers after they were watching an ESPN show that suggested such a thing. Not only did we hear this daily in Los Angeles, but we also had to listen to it from other localities
I felt in my heart if any free agent would tweak their nose at the rest of the league and sign with the Clippers it would be Leonard. The challenge of playing for a franchise with no championships in a city that is owned by the team they share their building with simply folds most superstars who simply aren’t up for the challenge.
Hell, who can blame them. When Chris Paul was traded to the Clippers he was still a top ten player. He took his family to a Dodger game and they showed him on the monitor Instead of getting the cheers he’s heard all his life, he was booed. In front of his son. I don’t think he ever got over that. I’m sure his son will never forget. I never forgot I’ve thought less of Dodger fans ever since.
Times change though. Donald Sterling is no longer the owner, Steve Ballmer the richest sports owner in the World is. The right-hand man for Ballmer is Jerry West, the Logo, the man who built the Laker juggernaut of Shaq/Kobe. The front office is so loaded that not one but two different assistant General Managers were recruited to run other organizations, and yet they turned down those offers to continue working within the Clipper front office. No one does that.
Winning? Well, the Clippers were the only Los Angeles team to make the postseason this past season. While the Lakers were salivating about another lottery pick the Clippers were the only NBA franchise to beat the Warriors in the postseason when the Warriors had their big four healthy.
The Clippers don’t have any championships, YET. But they do win, oh yes they do.
|Year||Clipper Wins||Clipper Postseason||Laker Wins||Laker Postseason|
|2018-19||48||Lost 1st Round||37||No Playoffs|
|2017-18||42||No Playoffs||35||No Playoffs|
|2016-17||51||Lost 1st Round||26||No Playoffs|
|2015-16||53||Lost 1st Round||17||No Playoffs|
|2014-15||56||Lost Conf Semis||21||No Playoffs|
|2013-14||57||Lost Conf Semis||27||No Playoffs|
|2012-13||56||Lost 1st Round||45||Lost 1st Round|
|2011-2012||40||Lost Conf Semis||41||Lost Semis|
It may have taken Kawhi Leonard to get this city to notice the Clippers, but the Clippers have been the only winning NBA franchise in Los Angeles since 2013. They have won 154 more games than the Lakers since Chris Paul was sent to the Franchise by the NBA commissioner in 2011.
Chris Paul didn’t choose the Clippers, the NBA commissioner did. Blake Griffin didn’t choose the Clippers the draft did.
Kawhi Leonard chose the Clippers. Kawhi not only chose the Clippers over the super team across the hall he decided to build his own super team and recruited Paul George to join him. There will be no Chris Paul stigma as this duo tries to do what Lob City could not do, bring a banner to Staples Center and win over the NBA fans of Los Angeles.
In the past, I thought you could be both a Clipper and Laker fan but not anymore. Kawhi spurned the Lakers and has created a divide that will only be decided when these two superpower franchises match up.
Hopefully in a Western Conference Final.