THE Sports & Swag Report

NBA: Building up Clippers will be toughest job yet for Doc Rivers………

Doc Rivers is still proven to be one of the top 5 coaches in the NBA, but even with all of his accomplishments, the mountain in front of him in Los Angeles may be too tough to climb.

I still don’t get Rivers’ sudden move from Boston to L.A. Especially, since he left for the team that wears Red and Blue vs the team that wears Purple and Gold. I thought it was a mistake then, and it’s really looking like a mistake now. Leaving the Celtics organization, an organization that’s won 17 NBA titles for an organization that has never been to a conference final, is a lot like how it would be, if John Calipari left Kentucky to coach a team like Gonzaga. The transition would be similar.

Gonzaga, had been the poster child for mid-major programs in college hoops, until the George Mason’s, VCU’s and Butler’s came along and actually made the Final Four. Gonzaga continues to be a good program, but they’ve never gotten past a regional final. Much like Gonzaga, I wonder if the Clippers have missed their golden opportunity to be elite.

Kentucky’s tradition is unmatched in college hoops. Just like there are few teams that even come close to Boston’s tradition in the NBA. The Celtics are in rebuilding mode, which is the big reason Rivers left in the first place, but elite franchises like the Celtics always come back strong. Most times sooner than later.  Don’t be surprised if the Celtics raise their 18th championship banner in the TD Bank Garden before the Clippers raise their first in Staples Center. Next to all those banners of their roommates. The L.A. Lakers.

The Clippers may soon be in a rebuilding mode of their own. Unfortunately for the Clippers, the Donald Sterling saga is probably just in its beginning stages. Sterling, reportedly has hired a lawyer and plans a lawsuit against the NBA. If you thought Sterling was going down quietly, think again. Who knows what the outcome will be, but if the dust settles and a Sterling is still in control of the Clippers. The effects could be catastrophic.

Even if, the NBA’s ban against Sterling stands, and he’s forced to sell the team, you have to ask yourself; how good are the Clippers?


While, the Clippers have a great deal of talent, chemistry is a big question. Offensively, as long as the game is up-tempo, the Clippers are fine. But, as soon as the game slow down, the problems start to occur. That’s even with huge improvements this past season from Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Griffin, turned himself into an MVP candidate, and Jordan, while still not a primary offensive option, made strides towards being a more complete player on both ends of the floor. The problem is; there wasn’t much improvement anywhere else. The Clippers enjoyed their best season in franchise history, but for a team led by arguably the NBA’s best point guard, Chris Paul, and Griffin, this season was very disappointing. Things look even worse when you consider it was mistakes by Paul at the end of Game 5 and blown opportunities by the Clippers as a whole to extend or possibly win the series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Who would have ever thought Paul, not Oklahoma City Thunder point guard, Russell Westbrook, would be the one to crumble in a clutch situation like he did in Game 5? By and large, the argument can definitely be made that Paul was outplayed in the series by Westbrook. Which, leads to even more questions about Paul’s career in the playoffs. He’s supposed to be the more prototypical guard, but Westbrook has an NBA Finals appearance and his team is still in pursuit of another. Yet, Paul hasn’t been out of the 2nd round. Was it just the limited roster of the New Orleans Hornets, that couldn’t get them past the conference semis, or was Paul more of a factor than we thought? While, Griffin is the face of the Clippers franchise from a player standpoint, Paul is supposed to be the heart and soul.

Yes. The argument can be made that the Clippers are still a work in progress, but there just doesn’t seem to be much upside to this roster, as it stands now. They’re not exactly a young team. In addition to Paul, there are players like Matt Barnes, Jamal Crawford, and Danny Granger that have had lots of  playoff experience.  So, it would appear that changes or additions need to be made, but if the Sterling’s remain in control, who will want to play there?

Which, brings me back to Rivers.

There are few coaches around today, that could have done as admirable a job, as Rivers did to keep his players focused during the scrutiny caused by Donald Sterling’s phone conversations. However, his biggest test is yet to come. The Clippers, while being much better than the Celtics and one of the best teams in the NBA, have teams like the Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, and Portland Trailblazers hot on their heels. It’s arguable that all three teams have more flexibility, where they may be able to improve their roster quicker than the Clippers. That doesn’t even mention the Thunder or San Antonio Spurs, who are battling for a trip to the NBA Finals, and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. For Doc Rivers sake, the hope has to be that the Sterling situation is resolved ASAP, and that the Clippers can keep the team they’ve built-in tact. If not, the rebuilding job in L.A. won’t look much different from the one he left in Boston.






One Comment

  • Jame Wilson says:

    Game 5 was really something. After watching the replay many times, both during the game and after on the show with Barkley and Kenny ‘the jet’ Smith I had to concede that one could not really tell if Barnes’hand hit the ball or not. It’s beside the point. The rule clearly states that a defender who hits the guy with the ball on the hand causing the ball to go out of bound the ball goes to the guy who had the ball. Also, Rivers and the rest of the Clippers and their fans have no moral trouble at all that Barnes clearl fouled Jackson on the play. They don’t care about that because it wasn’t called. The lack of morals and just fair play would never allow me to take a call and maybe when when I know if is not true. This is what is missing in today’s modern sports. No more truth and no more morals. Regardless, that IS NOT the reason the Clippers lost. Chris Paul is a great player, but he ain’t ready for the big time; not yet. He lost the game for the Clippers with his not taking the foul and turning the ball over by jumping up like an idiot, then fouling Westbrook, who has winner running through his veins and hit all 3 free throws to put them ahead, and then Paul turning the ball over on the last play of the game, which was a bush league play. Chris Paul fell apart during the last few minutes of the game and blew their chances. Just to set it straight I was cheering for the Clipperfs and could only shake my head at how Paul just couldn’t handle the big time and choked. That’s a drag, but it’s the truth. I used to kind of respect Rivers, but aftger watching the way he behaved over this call I lost all respect for him. He lost his composure and during that last time out instead of getting his team together to make the last play he was whining at the officials. Bad, bad behavior and why waste his time? Did he think they would actually reverse the call at that time? Instead of taking care of business he was crying over spilt milk and lost his focus and his team/Paul didn’t make the last play. They lost because they ain’t ready yet. It’s that simple! Even though I was for the Clippers, it was still the right call. Barnes not only fouled Jackson on the play, but he also caused the ball to fly out of bounds. So they Clippers and their fans have no right to cry and whine that they were robbed. Not morally and not factually. They, Paul, choked…period!!

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