The L.A. Clippers survived the first round of the playoffs for just the second time in the past 37 years, and they did so by winning their first Game 7 on the road in franchise history.
Throughout the regular season and the playoffs, the Clippers transformed from being "Lob City" to now being affectionately known as "Flop City," and that isn't helping them take a step forward as a franchise.
For the Clippers to develop an identity outside of being the "little brother" of the Lakers, they need to become the baddest team in the West, and the only way for them to do that is to relish a bad-boy mentality.
The Clippers have the pieces in place to be the baddest team west of the Mississippi
The Clippers not only have the dirtiest player in the NBA, in Reggie Evans, they also have an intimidating frontcourt duo of Kenyon Martin and DeAndre Jordan, both of whom aren't afraid to throw down when the rubber meets the road.
The 10-man rotation the Clippers have in place is full of players who don't necessarily get the job done with finesse, but instead, get the job done by pumping out gritty performance after gritty performance.
While players like Caron Butler, Chris Paul, Nick Young and Randy Foye aren't necessarily known as being the toughest players in the NBA, they all have the capability of becoming tough players when their team needs it, and right now their team needs them to do just that.
If the Clippers want to forever be "that other team from L.A." then playing the way they do now will suffice, but if they want to develop an identity that is completely disconnected from the Lakers franchise, they need to become their own team.
The best way for the Clippers to do that is for them to embody a bad-boy mentality and become the baddest team in the Western Conference. If they do that, fans and NBA franchises alike will begin to take them seriously as a franchise that can stand on their own two feet.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin need a new gimmick
When CP3 made his way to L.A. to join forces with Griffin, the two players transformed the Clippers into Lob City, and while that worked for the first half of the season, that gimmick is starting to get old, as it hasn't helped the Clippers develop a long-lasting identity.
If Griffin and Paul want to become one of the most feared tandems in the game, they need to drop the cute Lob City mentality and adopt a more serious bad-boy mentality.
CP3 is already known as one of the most physical point guards in the game, so a transition into being the baddest point guard around isn't that far-fetched.
A transition to being a bad boy will be more difficult for Griffin, as he oftentimes appears more comfortable flopping all over the place than imposing his will on his opponents night in and night out. Griffin's athleticism has carried him in the NBA thus far, but unless he develops into a more complete and more physical player, he won't be taken seriously.
The best way for Griffin and CP3 to become one of the most-feared tandems in the game is for them to adopt a bad-boy mentality that is rooted in helping the Clippers develop an identity of being the most physical and most-feared team in the Western Conference.
Not only do the Clippers need to relish a bad-boy mentality to become a legitimate contender in the West, they also need to so that they can separate themselves from living in the massive shadow of the Lakers' franchise.
A bad-boy mentality may not be what the Clippers want, but it's certainly what the Clippers need as they move forward as a franchise in search of their own identity.