Why Dwight Howard and Chris Paul Make Better Rivals Than Teammates
Dwight Howard and Chris Paul were going to team up in Dallas before they were both traded to their new digs. According to Marc Spears of Yahoo!, Howard said, "We were trying to play together, but it didn't work out."
The key word is: "Were." According to the report, both sides said "Don't count on it," when asked about whether they still might team up. That's good. Howard and Paul serve better as rivals than teammates.
Not that they wouldn't make great teammates; they would make a frightening pair. It's just that they are better as rivals for their new teams.
Who would want to see David team up with Goliath?
It's better for Chris Paul, the somewhat diminutive superstar point guard. to play for the "other" team in Los Angeles, the Clippers, while Howard, the nearly seven-foot Superman, plays for the team in Los Angeles, the Lakers.
The Clippers, when taken in full historical context, are arguably the worst franchise in the history of major professional American sports. They've never won a title. They've never even been to the Finals. For that matter they've never even been to the Conference Finals.
They are now playing in their 43rd season, and they've only been to the postseason eight times. They've never won 50 games. They have had only two players in team history that spent more than a season season there and were named to the Hall of Fame, Bob McAdoo and Bill Walton.
Walton didn't even play like one while he was there. McAdoo never played a game for the Clippers or in Los Angeles. He did all his damage with the Buffalo Braves.
The player who holds the franchise record for win shares is Elton Brand. Their all time leading scorer, Randy Smith, spent all his time with the Braves too.
The club record for wins in a season is 49. Again, that was by the Braves.
The franchise has four winning seasons since moving to LA in 1985.
If there was ever a club needing a champion with a sling it's the Los Angeles Clippers. Who better than Paul, whose passes are so accurate that he could give a vasectomy to a flea on a frog's tongue without either noticing what just happened?
But what is a David without a Goliath? Just another sling-toting nobody shepherd with a harp. That's what.
Enter Dwight Howard, whose new franchise is as big as his barn-wide shoulders.
If the Clippers represent the worst franchise in American sports, then the Lakers are the greatest, perhaps even more so than the New York Yankees.
Would you rather see Paul and Howard be teammates or rivals in L.A.?
The Lakers have been in the league since the 1948-49 season. In the 64 years they've been around, they've missed the playoffs almost as rarely as the Clippers have made it. They've only gone home without a postseason birth five times.
In all they've won 425 postseason games. That's 96 more than any other NBA team, even the Celtics.
It's 401 more than the Clippers.
They've won the NBA Finals 16 times, and in 64 years, they've made it to the Finals 31 times. That's nearly half the time—an incredible record of consistency. Another nine times they've made it to the Conference Finals.
That's 40 times in 64 years that they were one of the four best teams remaining in the postseason.
The Lakers have had 20 Hall of Fame players, and most of them spent their best years in Los Angeles. In Bill Simmons' Hall of Fame Pyramid, seven of the 15 greatest players of All-Time were Lakers.
They are the league's most valuable franchise, valued by Forbes to be worth $900 million.
This is as Goliathan as the NBA gets.
Since Chris Paul was traded to the Clippers, the two teams have started to develop a rivalry. The teams bother each other. They get feisty over plays like this. It's just more fun to watch this way.
The NBA is better with a rivalry in LA. It's better with a David slinging stones at Goliath. Hopefully it'll stay that way.
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