The Los Angeles Clippers have had nothing to cheer about for years. No rings, no final runs and the playoffs have been a distant fancy. They’ve basked in the lottery year after year like Harry Potter at Hogwarts. But things have changed. The curse is lifted, the spell broken.
They’ve since transformed from laughing stock to rising stock, from the projects to the mansion on Lakeshore Drive, from a college student Geo to a fire-red Ferrari. All because of two moves.
Chris Paul was acquired before the NBA season in a blockbuster trade involving Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and a 2012 first-round draft pick to the New Orleans Hornets. This move took the Clippers from not making the playoffs since 2006 to a West contender overnight.
Add this move to the 2009 No. 1 overall draft pick in Blake Griffin and that makes it one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NBA. The Lakers are becoming more of a side-story in Los Angeles, especially considering the eight-point ousting the Clips gave them a couple weeks back despite Kobe’s 42 points. The Clippers have marquee wins over Miami and the Blazers as well.
The recipe for success in the NBA is no longer given to the gym rats, the excellent schemes, or teamwork, necessarily. Superstars, superstars, superstars are the magical ingredient each contenders’ cake includes. Sprinkle in a seasoned coach, a thick TV contract, and the Clippers have themselves a successful franchise both athletically and financially. Griffin is 22 years old. Paul is 26. Saying the future is bright in LA just doesn’t quite cut it.
One high-risk move is bringing high-reward results. Go bold, or go home.
Hopefully the Jazz brass are taking notes.
Josh Cann – Sports Writer