After Lob City’s descent, the Clippers needed an identity. They now embrace playing for the people in the back. How did this start, and what does it mean?
For the people in the back.
That is what Patrick Beverley told reporters in the locker room after the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers on March 4th of last season. The Clippers were amidst a season nobody saw coming and had essentially just eliminated their hallway rivals, who were also experiencing a season nobody saw coming.
The Clippers had finally dismantled Lob City in its entirety and were entering a season without Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan for the first time since 2010. After six years of high expectations, the script had flipped entirely. Not only were the Clippers no longer anticipated to be contenders, but they were predicted to be back at the bottom of the Western Conference.
Pre-season predictions from every major sports outlet had them at no more than 36 wins. Bleacher Report had them at 36-46, citing “too many questions and not enough star power” as their reasoning behind the underwhelming prediction.
ESPN had the Clippers at 35-47, once again citing lack of star power as the reason LAC would finish 12 games below .500 in the 2018-19 season.
Now here sits Patrick Beverley, media members swarming him as he surveys the room and says, “It was seven people in here media day. I remember it like it was yesterday, I told Shai, ‘Shai look at the room, it’s seven people media here. Watch at the end of the year.’ Like I said about us being the best team in LA, a lot of people don’t believe me that’s fine. Women lie, men lie, numbers don’t.” (h/t OC Register).
That is where our story begins.