Clippers Seize Control of LA

Doug Notaris, Reporter

Historically the Los Angeles Clippers have been a complete failure of an NBA franchise. Their history has been filled with poor trades and bad draft selections. In the 41 years prior to the 2011-2012 NBA season, the Clippers have dismal seventh playoff appearances (with no division titles). In addition, they have lost 50 or more games on 27 separate occasions.

This 2012-2013 looks much more promising for the Los Angeles Clippers. They are led by superstar point guard Chris Paul, All-star starter Blake Griffin, and the leading candidate for the sixth man of the year award, Jamal Crawford. Thanks to their talented backcourt and avatar-like athleticism in the frontcourt, the Clippers are a highflying team that prefers to play above the rim. Due to their fast, transition style of play and unselfish ball movement, the Clippers are leading the league in filed goal percentage. This style of play has been seen in their 17-game win streak (longest such streak in franchise history in the longest by any team in a little over four years) that recently game to an end. The Clippers currently have the second best record (31-9) in the NBA sitting behind only the defending western conference champs, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

What make the Clippers season even more impressive are the woes of the LA Lakers. After being proclaimed as the best team in the league and as inevitable champions with their off season signings of 2-time MVP point guard Steve Nash, and arguable the best center since Shaquille O’Neal (another great center that made his legacy in a Lakers jersey) over this past off season, the Lakers are currently sitting at tenth in the Western Conference Standings. They have a 17 and 21, and they are currently way out of the playoff picture. Since the birth of the LA Clippers, they have always been looked down upon by the league, analysts, and most importantly, by Los Angeles. These viewpoints are currently nothing but memories as a shift in power seems to be in store for LA. The Clippers are taking over the city with their young, exciting players while the old, dull Lakers seem to be stuck in a “funk.”

The Clippers have even seemed to better the Lakers in the coaching aspect. The Lakers just signed Mike D’Antoni, former coach of the New York Knicks, to a 3-year, 12 million-dollar contract. D’Antoni is the third coach of the Lakers this season after Mike Brown was relieved of his duties very early on. The Lakers seem to be lacking chemistry under their new coach as the Clippers are thriving under coach Vinny Del Negro. Del Negro has come a long way since being with the Clippers. He first started coaching the team two seasons ago and had previously lacked consistency from his players. Two seasons ago and for part of last season, Del Negro seemed to have lost the players on his team, and that the players “did not want to play for him.” However, after last seasons second round exit from the post season, The LA Clippers exercised the option on Del Negro’s contract to bring him back for the 2012-2013 season and so far it has certainly paid off.

Unfortunately for the Clippers, health has always seemed to hinder their success. Currently their backcourt is “banged up.” Their starting shooting guard, Chauncey Billups” has seen very limited playing time this season due to tendonitis in his left foot. Chris Paul, the face of the franchise, is also currently injured although he has only been out for a few days thanks to a bruised patella.

While the Clippers history is far from the award filled history of the Lakers, history does not seem to repeating in Los Angeles. With superstar Chris Paul leading this young team, the Clippers are currently half a game behind the best record in the league, and for a change, they are a lot more than just that other team in LA. They are serious championship contenders this year, and with their young roaster, than can only improve in the years to come.