When walking around the beautiful city of Los Angeles, California, you can see many people proudly displaying their favorite LA team. The Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Kings, and now the Rams are on the backs of many fans all around the city.
However, one team curiously missing from that list is the Clippers. Sure, you might see the occasional CP3 jersey grace your eye every so often, but the number of Clipper jerseys on display are vastly outnumbered (even to that of the lowly, bottom seeded Lakers). There is a reason support for the Clippers isn’t on the high these days, and that reason is Mediocrity.
Yes, Mediocrity is the true “Clippers Curse.” Mediocrity is the reason the Clippers name is not one to grace your tongue too often, and Mediocrity is the reason this team of All-Stars is always making news for the wrong reasons. A team riddled with talent, ripe with coaching genius, and enthusiasm from the owner, should be a team that competes for a championship every single year. But somehow, year after year, season after season, the Clippers just can’t seem to get it done.
Let's bring it back to the playoffs two years ago. Remember the infamous game 7 where the underdog Clippers managed to beat the San Antonio Spurs in 7 games of a nail biting, pulse-raising series? It’s okay if you don’t remember because that memory is probably blocked by one of those same Clippers giving up a 3-1 lead to an underwhelming Houston Rockets team in the very next round.
How about last year?
Surely the Clippers would make mends for their embarrassing performance the year before, right? WRONG, instead the Clippers went home in the FIRST ROUND to the Portland Trailblazers. To be fair, it is impossible to control injury, so they might have an excuse there. Still, though, doesn’t it seem odd that this team always seems to fall below expectations?
Even before these last two years, there was still ample opportunity to at least make it to an NBA Finals. Yet we stand here today, and they still have not gotten past the second round. It is only instinct to point the finger of blame, especially with expectations as high as these. So who's fault is it? We could blame Chris Paul, seeing as how he is the leader of the team and the facilitator of the offense. We could point the finger at Blake Griffin too, who's talent and maturity might not be growing fast enough in this ultra-competitive league.
Or, perhaps, we blame Doc Rivers.
He is the coach on the floor, and voice in the locker room. Surely he has some blame…..right? The real answer here might just be all of the above.
Maybe this collection of players and coaches just doesn’t mesh right. Maybe the flaws of all the guys on the team is a bad combination. Maybe it just isn’t their destiny to win together. One thing is clear, though.
This organization has to do SOMETHING. I was always told growing up that if an obstacle stands in your way, move it. That’s what the Clippers must do here, even if they don’t quite know what that “obstacle” is yet.
At the end of the day, the Clippers still have the same guys they had last year. They still have the same genius basketball coach and crazy (but lovable) owner. Maybe this is the year the basketball gods smile down on them. It could be the year we start to see some more Clippers jerseys dotting the streets of LA.
But until that day arrives, one thing will always come to mind when thinking of this team: Mediocre.