Welcome to another wonderful installment in the web's best NBA team previews. So wonderful that you will be filled with wonder and astonishment and wonderful wonder. To check out all the entries in the series, you can click here.
Today, we will be discussing the Los Angeles Clippers, a team that is best known for being terrible since... well forever, basically. Whether it is some sort of twisted Native American curse or simple ineptitude, these doomed losers deserve a closer look.
Team With Players That I Like and That I Could Grow To Love
What I Like
This team barely won at all last season. Years of sports movie cliches have conditioned me to look at every chronic loser as a plucky underdog deserving of my support. Basically, the Clippers owe a lot of my sympathy to the Rick Moranis film, Little Giants.
Additionaly, this team has a ton of players that I like or that I at least think are interesting. Beyond merely being interesting, they are talented and deep. Maybe most importantly, they got rid of Zach Randolph. Blake Griffin, as you might have heard, is supposedly, not a bad player, and last year, Eric Gordon was lighting it up in relative anonymity. Both are exciting and skilled players. Chris Kaman is endlessly fascinating to me, if only because his love of firearms and explosives leaves me deeply frightened. And then there is Baron Davis.
I love Baron Davis. He's skilled as all hell, plays with a goofy nonchalance, and still manages to burn people with his speed and talent. His swagger is untouchable, his beard, both gentlemanly and scholarly. On the court, he's a terror and he has the potential to be the best player on the floor on almost any given night. Off the court, he's a free-wheeling goofball who spends his spare time making and producing films. Basically, he's what I would want to be like were I a professional basketball player. Some people criticize Baron Davis for his poor decision-making and laziness, and that just makes me relate to the guy more: I too an often taken to task or my bad personal judgment and laziness! He's just like us, ya'll, inconsequential faults and all.
What I Don't Like
The Clippers losing ways go beyond bad luck. Aside from the addition of Blake Griffin and the subtraction of Zach Randolph (not to undersell this giant upgrade), the roster pretty much stayed the same. These are the same Clippers who spent the past season fighting it out for worst team in the league. How is that possible with so many talented players? Terrible coaching, terrible management, terrible chemistry, and a special case of what must be divine spite. This team must be cursed. There is no other explanation for how so many good players can play so poorly together and lose so many games: intense divine disfavor. The Clippers have drawn the ire of the Old Ones and will continue to pay the penalty until all Clippers fans are driven to insanity in face of the terrible, despairing madness they are forced to watch night in and night out. The Clippers aren't plucky underdogs- they are the cursed scions of some fell and eldritch power.
Baron Davis actually does hold the title of Baron in a small section of Flanders. You will notice many of the European players will greet him in a respectful, if somewhat old-fashioned manner. He also, technically, holds the title of Jarl in a region of Sweden near Gothenburg. This mark of honor bestows on him the right to wear a saber denoting his station during NBA games, which he did during a single season at Charlotte. He has since discontinued the practice.
Mike Dunleavy will be driven mad by the unspeakable and terrible truth of the forbidden power of the abominable madness that governs this twisted planet. Baron Davis's fate, for good or for ill, will be tied to the fate of his beard.
Watch them until it's painful. This team has so much potential and is filled with fun and interesting players. Still, they are the Clippers, so bad to mediocre seems so much more likely