With the addition of a healthy Blake Griffin and the rapid development of super guard Eric Gordon, a lot of people expected the Los Angeles Clippers to be “exciting” this year. Their athleticism, scoring ability and flash was supposed to help the Clippers take the next step. And heck, maybe Griffin and Gordon were set to become the next dynamic young duo a la Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Then, there were the veterans. Baron Davis, a guy to mentor Gordon and provide some scoring himself. Chris Kaman, a big man who, at the very least, could occupy some space in the middle and take attention away from Griffin. Throw in role players like Ryan Gomes, Rasual Butler, Craig Smith and another exciting youngster in Al-Farouq Aminu and maybe the Clippers could make some noise out west.
Or maybe not.
While Gordon and Griffin have shown flashes, the Clippers have shown that they’re still the Clippers. Last night they lost a 107-95 decision to the San Antonio Spurs, dropping their record to 1-8. It was the team’s 18th straight loss to the Spurs.
Kaman is currently out at least three weeks after spraining his ankle Tuesday night and Davis has only played in three games this year while recovering from a knee injury. That leaves the Clips with roughly $24 million in salary sitting on the bench.
Plus, while Gordon has looked great at times, he has currently missed the past two games with a shoulder injury.
Gordon is currently averaging 21.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.29 steals and 4.7 assists per game. He’s shooting 47.7 percent from the field, but just 15.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Griffin has been just plain fantastic. The No. 1 pick from the 2009 NBA Draft is averaging 16.2 points and 10 rebounds per game. But over the past two games, with Gordon and co. nursing injuries, both opponents (the Hornets and the Spurs) keyed on Griffin and flustered him. He managed just 10 points and six boards against New Orleans and had 11 points and eight rebounds against the Spurs.
Even when this entire team is healthy can Gordon and Griffin really develop without much help around them?
Given the history of the Clippers franchise, probably not. Both guys will wait until they can sign max free agent deals and fly the coop.
After all, no matter who you put in those uniforms, we’re still talking about the Los Angeles Clippers.