The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was a 1966 spaghetti western film starring Clint Eastwood.
The plot revolves around three gunslingers competing to find buried gold. As you may have guessed by now, one of the three was good, one was bad and the other, actor Eli Wallach, was just plain ugly.
Imagine getting that call from the actors agent. "Hey Eli, great news, you got the part. Well, no, you aren't the good guy. No, not the bad guy either. Um, hello? Eli?"
The film grossed $6.3 million in 1967 which is like $99,999,999 gazillion in 2011 dollars.
Today, the movie serves as a template with which to grade the most exciting basketball team in the NBA.
Sure, it's a bit of a stretch, but humor me.
The Los Angeles Clippers are enjoying what might be called a resurgence. Except a resurgence implies a return to greatness, which the Clips haven't really had much of. So, instead, lets call the Clippers 2010-2011 season an epiphany, an awakening.
In what seemed wholly impossible as early as last season, the Clippers have the pieces in place to become not only relevant but competitive.
A consistently competitive Clipper team, or C3, must be the goal for this squad. For the second time in franchise history, it's possible.
In 2001 Mike Dunleavy began to build a team that wasn't consistently competitive but did hit a high water mark for the franchise. In 2006 the team Dunleavy built made it to within one game of the Western Conference Finals. Losing in seven games to the Phoenix Suns.
It's been all downhill since then. Until now.
Unlike the 2006 team which was built with a plan, this squad appears to have fallen from the sky. The basketball gods finally smiling on the Clippers.
Those silly basketball gods did the same thing in 1997 when they handed Tim Duncan to the San Antonio Spurs. Duncan should have gone to the Celtics who had the second worst record in the 1996-97 season and the best odds to land the first pick.
I always thought Duncan would have been perfect in the East Coast where there is a Dunkin Donut's in every corner. You don't think Dunkin Donut's officials were salivating at the thought of the Big Fundamental pitching their ice coffees?
"This Duncan loves dunking and Dunkin."
It never happened though and things have been cheery in San Antonio to this day. In Blake Griffin, the Clippers have Tim Duncan, Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen all rolled into one.
What sets Griffin apart is his star quality. His numbers are on par with those of Kevin Love, but Griffin has that "it" factor thing that Love, for all his dominance, just doesn't have. It's what separates someone like Magic Johnson from Kevin Johnson.
Kevin Johnson is one of only three players in NBA history to have averaged at least 20 points and 12 assists in a season and average 20/10 in three consecutive seasons. He was the first player in NBA history to average 20 points, 10 assists, have a .500 FG percentage and 2 steals in a season.
Kevin Johnson was, statistically, on par with Magic Johnson. What set Magic apart however was the star power—he had "it".
Blake Griffin has "it" too.
The Lakers built around Magic, the Spurs built around Duncan. Clippers, now its your turn.
In the Clippers pursuit for their buried gold, an NBA Championship, here is a list of their current good, bad and ugly. See how I brought it all together?! Aren't you glad you stuck with me this long now?
I'm sold on VDN.
Del Negro handled Baron Davis well when he was here. He called him out for being out of shape and didn't play him until he was ready. He seems calm on the sidelines and always under control.
The Clippers offensive schemes fit the personality of the team and he has the club playing good defense, at times. He deserves to lead this team as far the franchise can take it.
The shooting guard
Eric Gordon is the perfect complement to Blake Griffin. Every inside player needs an outside threat.
The center position
I was convinced that Chris Kaman needed to go. Watching him work his way back from injury however has changed my mind.
Let's keep the longest tenured Clipper in the red, white and blue for another few years.
DeAndre Jordan has grown as a player in Kaman's absence, but I think his greatest value to this team might be bringing energy off the bench.
Kaman starts and Jordan is the Clippers version of Lamar Odom.
Location, location, location
The Clippers play in Los Angeles and practice in beautiful Playa Vista. Free agents take note.
It's not enough to have great players start and finish the game. A teams bench needs to be good enough to give the starters time to regroup without costing them a lead. The Clippers bench falls short.
I liked Mo Williams when he was in Cleveland; he seems to play with a chip on his shoulder. He isn't the answer in Los Angeles however.
Today's NBA requires not one, but two stars at a minimum to be competitive. In Griffin and Gordon the Clippers have 1.5.
They don't need someone like Chris Paul, not that he isn't welcome, but they do need a veteran with a championship background who can be trusted to lead a growing team.
Chauncey Billups is an unrestricted free agent in 2012. Coincidentally, when the basketball gods handed Duncan to the Spurs over the Celtics in 1996, guess who the Green Team ended up drafting. That's right, Chauncey Billups.
The Clippers, like a few other teams last off season, were keeping this slot warm for LeBron. Oh well.
How about Mickael Pietrus who will be an unrestricted free agent in 2011? A lock down defender who can hit a big shot would look good in LAC colors.
Some see this as a negative, but athletes love a challenge. Turning the Clippers into consistent winners, would make the squad who did it celebrities in the town known for its star power.
Sure, the Clippers legacy will keep some away, but those that do come will be handed untold riches and celebrity that you just can't get in Oklahoma City.
The three-thousand pound green elephant in the Clippers room is Donald Sterling.
Dude is creepy and I can see why some might think twice about getting checks with his signature.
For once however, the good outweighs not only the Clipper bad, but the Clipper ugly.
Heck, even Marilyn Monroe had a mole.