Bandwagon fans may want to consider buying Clipper tickets from here on out.
Ever since the San Diego Clippers moved to Los Angeles in 1984, their fans have been considered by most to be renegades.
Rooting for the Lakers has been the norm for Angelenos for years. Some feel that this may be the case because the Clippers came to L.A. after the Lakers had already been established as the beloved NBA franchise.
I feel differently.
The reason the Lakers have more fans is the same reason why any American soccer “fan” will say their favorite EPL club is Manchester United instead of Bolton. People like winning, so naturally, they like teams that win.
By Los Angeles standards, the Clippers never win and the Lakers have almost always been a more competitive ball club. However, that may all be about to change to due managerial decisions (or lack thereof) on both ends.
Here’s some convincing evidence for why the Clippers are poised to replace the Lakers as the hottest ticket in town:
Much has been said about how Mike Brown might be what the Lakers need to get back to the top, and many use Brown’s success in Cleveland to argue their point. The fundamental mistake made by comparing Cleveland during the LeBron era to the Lakers of today is the assumption that the two teams are in any way similar.
Brown’s defensive doctrine worked in Cleveland in 2007 because of the team make-up. That specific team was made up of young players who were athletic enough to put up with the demands that NBA defense requires.
The concept is simple. Age has caught up with many of the Laker players, and, as a result, they may not be able to excel in Brown's defensive scheme.
Even if Brown’s defense does work out with the Lakers, Clevland-like results still will not be witnessed (pun intended).
On the offensive end, Brown never really had a concrete strategy. If you watch tape from games during his tenure in Cleveland, you would notice Brown’s idea of offense is passing the ball to LeBron every possession and hoping for the best.
He can’t do the same with Kobe, who generates offense in a totally different fashion than LeBron, due mainly to differences in physique. Not to mention, the guy is getting a little old to be the teams only offensive weapon.
Few in Los Angeles doubt that Jim Buss has taken over the Laker franchise.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, Jim Buss is thoroughly incompetent at his new-found job. Although he has no formal basketball experience, he insists on calling the shots when it comes to general management decisions such as the terms and conditions of the hiring of Mike Brown.
Suppose the gamble that is Mike Brown doesn't pay off for the Lakers. If the Lakers do wish to sack Brown, they will still have to pay him all the money he was promised initially. If Kobe’s relative silence is any indication of the current chemistry within the Lakers camp, the team may very well soon be paying Brown to sit on the sidelines while someone else is coaching the team.
Buss is also responsible for the firing of countless scouts and other long-term Laker employees, only to add his personal bartender onto the Lakers payroll. If that isn’t corruption, I have no idea what is.
When NBA franchises collapse, the rebuilding process often begins with scoring a prospective star in the draft. The Lakers are a notoriously bad team when it comes to selecting draft picks. This year, it seems as if they had given up in their ability altogether by foolishly trading off their first round pick.
In a three-team trade involving the Lakers, New Jersey Nets and Houston Rockets, Los Angeles ended up giving away Sasha Vujacic and their 2011 first round pick, getting Joe Smith in return. The Lakers shot themselves in the foot with that deal, not only because Joe Smith proved to be useless last season, but also because giving away that pick eliminated a chance of drafting first-round talent.
The Clippers didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft either. However, in the recent past, the Clippers have been fortunate enough to have high draft picks. This has allowed them to draft some of the top college players in the country. Looking solely at the current Clippers roster, one would have to admit that the organization does have pieces they can work with in order to yield future success.
Yes, Kobe Bryant is one of the reasons why Laker fans should consider rooting for the Clippers. The Lakers’ posterboy has two more years remaining on his contract and his career is very quickly coming to an end.
Excluding Derek Fisher, there is no one else on the roster capable of taking the leadership role. After the Lakers lose Kobe, there will undoubtedly be a huge void in the team.
Honestly, the Lakers have a done a terrible job preparing for this. It’s almost as if the Lakers front office was hoping that Kobe could add more finesse to his game every year that goes by rendering him as effective as he was in his prime. Replacing Kobe is going to be an incredibly painful and time-consuming process.
It’s obvious that this guy is a freak of nature.
Last season, Griffin accomplished various impressive feats, including winning the Rookie of the Year Award and being voted to the NBA All-Star Game. The kid has all the qualities of a future winner. Not only is he willing to put in long hours at the gym, but he has also shown perserverance.
Blake spent the entire 2010 season on the bench as he was suffering from an injury that many would consider incredibly devastating for a rookie. He maintained composure during those challenging times and stayed focused. What else could the Clippers possibly want? Indeed, it’s an exciting time to be a Clipper fan. The Blake show might just become the new Lakeshow.