Last week, the Utah Jazz beat the Clippers in Game 7 to knock them out of the playoffs. For years the Clippers have been a consistent team in the West, but eventually something has to give. Is this the end of Lob City?
Although they have never won a championship, the Clippers have been in contention every year since the Big 3 was formed. Over the span of six seasons, Los Angeles has recorded a record of 313-163. That is a (66%) win percentage. That is second only to the San Antonio Spurs , who have a (74%) win percentage in that time.
In the post-season, as we all know, the Clippers hit their infamous slump. In that same six-year span, Los Angeles has been to only 3 Conference Semi Finals, and never once made a Conference Finals. They hold a record of 22-32 , including this year’s series with the Jazz.
Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan have dominated this league for over half a decade, and now it appears they are splitting up. By way of team execution, each of the three collected accolades throughout the league.
- Chris Paul has earned six selections to the All Star game, and was named MVP of the All Star Game in 2013. He has lead the league: twice in assists (2014, 2015), and three times in steals (2012 , 2013, 2014).
- Blake Griffin has earned four All Star selections, Rookie of the Year in 2011, and would go on to win the Dunk Contest that same year.
- Deandre Jordan earned his trip to the All Star game this season, but has lead the league in rebounding two consecutive seasons that were 2014 and 2015.
- In the stint with the Big 3, all players have had star quality averages:
- Chris Paul: (18.7) points, (9.8) assists, and (2.2) steals
- Blake Griffin: (21.3) points, and (8.8) rebounds
- Deandre Jordan: (10.6) points, (11.9) rebounds, and (2) blocks
It’s no doubt that the team performance earned them these player privileges, they’ve made each other better (especially Chris Paul). The Big 3 has thrived alone, and together throughout their tenure.
Free Agency Exit
It could be worse for LA, all three of their stars could have player options in the off season.
Thankfully, it’s only two.
Chris Paul has a player option , and though we have no reason to believe he’d leave, he doesn’t have many reasons to stay. Paul is a true floor general, a future hall of famer, and one of the top 10 players in this league. He wants to win a championship, and someone, somewhere is going to convince him he can do it somewhere else (*cough Spurs cough*).
Blake Griffin will also feature a player option in his contract, and is expected to leave or do a sign-and-trade . The Boston Celtics, and Oklahoma City Thunder are two teams expected to approach Griffin in the summer, and would both fare well from signing this point-forwards.
JJ Redick has had a great season, and unfortunately for the Clippers, his contract has come to an end. After averaging (15) points on (43%) from behind the arc, expect Redick to land a max with a team looking to add some shooters, OR with the Clippers should they lose Paul/Griffin.
Is the Doc in?
Doc Rivers is also rumored to be leaving, headed home to the Orlando Magic, where he began his career. Should the front office not be able to convince their head coach to stay, it will serve only as a catalyst for the Griffin/Paul departure.
Game 7 against the Utah Jazz was likely the last where Deandre, Chris, and Blake are all playing together. Although they were arguably one of the best three-way talents in league history, winning is winning; and losing is losing.
Players and franchises alike aspire for success in this league, a championship. Unfortunately, the stars haven’t aligned for this Los Angeles squad.
All stats and information provided by ESPN, Hoops Hype, and NBA.com. Featured image provided by ClutchPoints via Google Images.