The Los Angeles Clippers.
First Pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.
Finally something to be happy about.
Let me first say that I am neither a Clippers hater, nor do I believe that the team will ruin the career of any potential superstar.
The Clippers have a coach who can sometimes (and that is a big stretch of the word sometimes) succeed and some fairly good players with a lot of talent.
That said, this is the worse possibly place for Blake Griffin.
And its not because of the nostalgia of the Clips, its because of their roster and current direction.
Elton Brand had his best seasons with L.A. before shipping off to Philadelphia where he got hurt for the entire year. This is a team that has the potential to be good down the line and the taboo of the Clippers reputation is something I believe is long gone and currently extremely over-hyped.
The real problem with this team and Blake Griffin is its lineup.
Where does he fit in?
Between Kaman, Randolph, and Camby? Three players (actually two, because Randolph is the worst 20-10 player in the history of the league) who are arguably the silver lining for the organization's future?
The fact of the matter is that without injuries to key players this season, the Clippers would be in no way deserving of the number one pick.
Between Eric Gordon, Kaman, and Baron Davis. there is some talent to be found on this roster, and while Kaman may not regain confidence until he becomes a werewolf again and grows out another Grizzly Adams hairstyle, odds are next season the Clips could contend for a decent record even without the number one pick.
What I hate to see with Blake Griffin traveling to L.A. is that he will jump start a career that could potentially be one of the greatest in decades. He'll probably fall under their bench for a short period of time, only switching in minutes with the Clippers other big men.
Now a lot of general managers and NBA Analysts have hinted that the team will try and release or trade several players including Camby and Randolph.
As a longtime Jazz fan, I can say firsthand that IT IS NOT THAT SIMPLE.
I have hoped for major trades and good moves by the Jazz for years, and while they are one of the most entertaining teams in the offseason, their biggest move of the last several years has been trading for Korver with the Sixers.
The Clippers can say what they want, but when it comes down to it, there won't be a hole Blake Griffin will be able to fill by the start of the 09'-10' campaign.
Let's look at the other possibilities for Griffin.
Oklahoma City Thunder: With Durant and Westbrook, the Thunder have a nice future ahead of them, but what if they got a homegrown talent like Griffin? They would immediately fill holes available from Krstic and Collison and be able to switch Jeff Green over to his rightful position at Small Forward. That's a dramatic improvement.
Sacramento Kings: This team was pathetic this year, but with Kevin Martin continuously improving, the Kings could have had something with Griffin down the line. It is a shame to see the Kings have to suffer at least another season before being able to get a productive player in the draft.
Memphis Grizzles: The Grizzles have a lot of talent and a lot of things going for them. with Mayo and Gay, they had some real play-makers, and the addition of Griffin could have only made this team, I do not know, like ten times better?
These are all teams that could have started and utilized Griffin immediately, and could have propelled him to another level of basketball by being the face of a needy organization.
And now, let's take a look at the Clippers.
With Camby, Kaman, and Randolph all at the helm of the interior side of the court, the Clippers just will not utilize Griffin in the right ways and will almost invariably cause the forwards career to hit a turn for the worst.
Worst of all, the main problem Blake will have with the Clippers is the ability to succeed on the squad. Eric Gordon is improving and will be shooting quite a bit more in the coming years. As much as I love Baron Davis, he is a shoot first point guard who will not be able to get the most out of a player like Griffin. The Clippers roster and style of play isn't set up to mold or jump-start a rookie's career like Griffin's, its set up to throw him in with a bunch of other talented players who haven't done anything with their career.
This is not because the Clippers are the worst run team in the history of the NBA, its because they just haven't found the tools to utilize their style of play and because of this, they struggle severely.
Gordan is another story, mainly because L.A. needed his style of play and utilized him right away because of his ability to shoot, something the team had struggled with in the past.
Griffin? He is just another one of the Clippers talented players who will not have the tools to succeed in the NBA.
If Griffin could go to another needy team, his valuable play could have been utilized almost immediately. With the Clippers, he is just another player waiting for the right time to opt out of his contract.