Monday, November 22, 2010

Save Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin has broken onto the NBA scene with a firestorm of ferocious dunks, rebounds, and a tenacity that can only be matched by few others in the league. Watching Griffin play the game is a breath of fresh air, he understands fundamentals, and is a smart, coachable player. Unfortunately for Blake, and all NBA fans, his greatness is buried deep within the doldrums of the 'other' team who resides at Staples Center.

The Los Angeles Clippers are synonymous with losing. Since changing from the Braves to the Clippers in 1978, the Clip Show has been nothing more than the laughing stock of the NBA. In 32 years as the Clippers, they have made the playoffs four times. They have no division titles, no conference titles, and of course, no NBA championships. The most alarming, and telling statistic that completely describes the Clippers, they've had only three seasons of winning basketball ('78-'79, '91-'92, '05-'06).

There are many reasons why this franchise has been so terrible for so long. Ownership, coaching, drafting, free-agent decisions, and trades have all been factors in making the Clippers one of the worst franchises in all of sports.

This blog post is dedicated to showing everyone that not even Blake Griffin, and all his amazing talents can get this team out of the gutter. In fact, Donald Sterling, Neil Olshey, and Vinny Del Negro should do Griffin a favor and trade him from the black hole that is the Clippers before it is too late.

Let's now take a look at the numerous poor decisions that have created such a sub-par team for over 30 years:
1985: Picked Benoit Benjamin third overall. Chris Mullin, Karl Malone, and Terry Porter were picked after.
1987: Picked Reggie Williams fourth overall. Scottie Pippen, Kevin Johnson, Reggie Miller and Horace Grant were picked after.
1995: Traded second overall pick, Antonio McDyess to Denver for Rodney Rogers and Brent Barry. McDyess has gone on to have very productive seasons despite knee injuries.
1998: Picked Michael Olowokandi first overall. Mike Bibby, Vince Carter, Antwan Jamison, Dirk Nowtizki, and Paul Pierce were picked after.
2002: Picked Chris Wilcox eighth overall. Amar'e Stoudemire and Caron Butler were picked after.
2005: Picked Yaroslav Korolev 12th overall. Danny Granger was picked after.

When analyzing a team who has had so many lottery selections in their history, one would expect them to have a plethora of young talent to develop. The problem lies with developing those young players. When the Clippers did make the right decision on draft night (Danny Manning, Danny Ferry, Lorenzen Wright, and Lamar Odom), the organization didn't bring them along properly. The other terrible decisions made, caused them to lean too heavily on many of their good selections. As a rookie, the pressure to single-handedly save an entire NBA franchise has proven to be too much to handle.

Although the Clippers have had over 20 lottery picks since 1985, they have only had the first overall pick twice. In 1998 they chose Michael Olowokandi, and in 2009 they made the no-brainer pick, Blake Griffin. We all know the Olowokandi disaster, but the pick of Griffin may be just as bad; not for the Clippers, but for Griffin himself.

The ultra talented, and supremely athletic forward is now stuck in a franchise I like to refer to as the abyss. So many players have been sucked into the Clipper way, and have never come out the same. Can we call it a curse? Maybe. Only one player I can think of has been drafted by the Clippers, and has gone on to have success, and that's Lamar Odom. Odom found his way to the brighter side of Staples Center and has flourished in his role, and is now the proud owner of two championship rings.

Griffin was forced to sit out his entire rookie season due to injury, strike one. He has been playing like a man possessed for most of the games this season, it has lead to a 1-13 record, strike two. Who knows what the third strike will be, but we know it is coming. I'm hoping the Clipper organization realizes what they do to very talented players, and save Blake Griffin's career.

No comments:

Post a Comment