Well, that’s it. The Los Angeles Clippers were eliminated last night in Memphis, dropping to the Memphis Grizzlies 118-105. So much for my prediction during Clippers Clue. But now that the season has come to an end, I find the reactions to the Clippers’ season overall very…mixed.
On the one hand, the Clippers had a record-setting regular season, winning 56 games that included a 17-game winning streak and perfect 16-0 month of December. Then, to put the cherry on top, the Clippers won their first-ever Pacific Division championship.
Their starting line up included All-Stars Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Chancey Billups, and they also boasted one of the most talented benches in the league. Under the guidance of coach Vinny Del Negro, the team went from the laughing stock of the NBA to the best team in Los Angeles.
But on the other hand, the Clippers had some very serious problems and concerns all season. Various injuries hurt them (no pun intended) during the regular season, most notably the loss of Paul for 12 games and Billups for a whopping 60 games. While injuries may not be in the Clippers’ control, concerns about Del Negro’s handling of the team is. Many questioned his minute allocations, as well as his seemingly shallow offense (aka the good ol’ Paul pick-and-roll).
It comes down to one simple thing: the Clippers were expected to do better. But they didn’t.
It will be interesting to see what changes the Clippers make during the offseason to ensure that they continue to grow to the next level. There is so much potential, but what pieces are necessary to change potential to reality? Is it finding a new coach to replace Del Negro? Is it hoping, praying, and all-around begging Paul to resign? (I know we all know the answer to that question).
There are a few things that clearly need to happen in order for ensure at least a bit of Clippers success next season, but I’ll get to that in another, more detailed article. I need some time to mourn. Stay tuned.