It’s hard to imagine that just a year ago, many believed that the Los Angeles Clippers were the best team in the NBA. Once they signed Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George, the expectation was that they’d compete for championships. At this point, they don’t even appear to be a top-10 team in the NBA.
The team finished the regular season as the fourth seed in the Western Conference. Many believe that the Clippers tanked to avoid the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. That’s not working out well for them as they now find themselves in a 2-0 hole against the Dallas Mavericks. The Clippers were supposed to be different this year as they hired a new head coach in Ty Lue and added some key pieces in Rajon Rondo and Serge Ibaka. Those moves obviously haven’t led to great improvement so far.
In the offseason, Montrezl Harrell was pegged as a guy the Clippers weren’t too sad about losing in free agency despite being named Sixth Man of the Year. The Lakers big man appeared to throw a bit of shade after his former team lost.
He also liked a tweet that stated “They really said [Montrezl Harrell] was the issue on the Clippers.”
It’s possible that Harrell was part of the problem last year for Los Angeles but it’s clear now that their issues run a lot deeper than one player.
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Clippers Aren’t Concerned Quite Yet
If the Clippers get swept in the first round of the playoffs, things could get really bad for the team. Steve Ballmer is one of the most passionate owners in the NBA and is investing a ton of money into the team. He’s not going to continue to settle for mediocrity. However, Paul George says that the team isn’t concerned.
“There is none,” George said of the team’s concern level, via ESPN. “It’s a competition. We got to rise to the occasion. The fact of the matter is if we don’t, we’re done for. There is no level of concern.
“We just got to play our game, we got to play through this. We got to incorporate our defense. Luka is going to get his touches. We just got to do a better job defensively of quieting everyone else.”
The Clippers should be very concerned right now. Getting embarrassed in two straight playoff runs would be a very bad look for the team and its two superstars.
Lakers Should Be Feeling Good Right Now
When the Clippers assembled their team last offseason, there was a lot of talk about they were now the team to beat in Los Angeles. The Lakers took that personally and ended up re-establishing dominance by winning another championship.
Heading into this season, the rivalry between the Clippers and Lakers wasn’t as intense due to the embarrassing fashion in which the former ended last season. Based on how the playoffs are going, it’s fair to say the Clippers are even worse this year. Though players for the Lakers have refrained from punching down, there’s no doubt it’s amusing for the team and its fans to see how far the other Los Angeles team has fallen.