What's on the Menu? "mmmmmm . . . Basketball!!!!"

Saturday, May 11, 2013

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for January and and February: 4. Los Angeles Clippers

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of February 28th) :  42-18 (first place, Pacific Division)  

This Month:

Team Statistics and League Rank (as of February 28th)
  • Points Scored: 100.5 (9th)
  • Points Allowed: 93.9 (4th)
  • Team FG%: .475 (5th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .438 (4th)
  • Team FT%: .705 (27th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .357 (15th)
  • Rebounds per game: 41.8 (17th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 39.7 (3rd)
  • Turnovers per game: 14.9 (20th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 16.7 (1st)

Individual Statistical Leaders (as of February 28th)
  • Scoring (ppg): Blake Griffin (18.7)
  • Rebounds per game:   Blake Griffin (8.7)
  • Minutes per game: Chris Paul (32.6)
  • Assists per game:  Chris Paul (9.6)
  • Field Goal Percentage: DeAndre Jordan (.611)
  • Free Throw Percentage:  Chris Paul (.890)
  • Three Point FG Percentage: Chauncey Billups (.400)
  • Steals per game:  Chris Paul (2.4)
  • Blocked Shots per game:  DeAndre Jordan (1.4)

Worst Player of the Month: Caron Butler

To think that just a few years ago Caron Butler was one of the league's up and coming young players in the league.  Now at 33 years of age he is no longer the factor he once was and has become less and less of a factor in his advancing age.  His proficiency and impact on the offensive end has steadily declined throughout the years and he is no longer the lock down defender that he once was.  Butler certainly has not lived up to the 8$ million salary that he is currently being paid by the Clips.  With his contract expiring at the end of next season, watch Butler become one of the names being circled around in trade rumors as LA would look to part ways with him sooner rather than later. 
First Player of the Month: Matt Barnes

How ironic it is that Matt Barnes, a player who shares the same age as Caron Butler and produces as much as he does yet still only makes a fraction of what Caron makes.  In what can be considered as one of the greatest injustices. Matt Barnes, despite being almost equal in every way to Butler gets paid only 10% of what Butler will earn at the end of the season.  At just 854,349$, Barnes is by far the lowest paid NBA players in terms of what he has been contributing to his team.  I doubt that you can find any starter caliber players that contributed 10 points, 5 boards, 2 assists and a steal per game on Barnes' salary.  The Clippers certainly got more than their value out of that paltry contract that they signed Barnes to, and hopefully they will do that right thing and offer him more as he certainly deserves it. 

For the Los Angeles Clippers, it has to be one of the most frustrating seasons in the team history despite this being their greatest season in franchise history.  For the first time in franchise history they own first place in their Pacific Division after decades of wallowing at the bottom for so long.  What was once considered as one of the greatest laughing stocks in the history of professional sports has now become an elite franchise capable of possibly reaching the NBA Finals.  Unfortunately, despite all the hard work and stellar performances throughout the regular season, the Clippers neither get the respect and acclaim it so desperately desires, they still have to play second fiddle to a team that has struggled throughout the season and has been scratching their way to get the final playoff berth.  Regardless of what the Clippers have accomplish in what can be considered as a story book season, they still remain overshadowed by their inner city nemesis, the Los Angeles Lakers, which must be one of the hardest pills to swallow.

Before it was not that big a deal as historically the Clippers had been looking up at the Lakers season after season; however, now it is the other way around as the Clippers are at the top of the mountain while the Lakers scratch and claw to keep their heads above water. Yet despite the massive paradigm shift in the NBA, many media outlets still still keep their attention on the Lakers, focusing on all their troubles, rather than showing a little love to the Clippers who after years of futility have finally made it to the upper echelons of the league.   Still they remained ignored for the most post, as they always have been, in favor of a team that has been, by all accounts, an utter disgrace after making two off season moves that were supposed to return it to championship contender.  What makes this even more maddening is that the Clips are not being upstaged by a team that is better than them, but instead have gotten the cold shoulder in favor for a team that has been their inferior for most of the season.  It should be them that should be getting the attention and acclaim that they rightfully deserve, not some overpaid and underwhelming train wreck such as the Lakers.

Just look at all the current headlines and see how much of them are devoted to the much maligned Lakers than their neighboring franchise whom they have been literally been eating dust from.  In the city of angels and national media, most reports are centered about all the Lakers troubles lamenting on the team's poor performance and lack of cohesion instead of the infectious positive and cohesive team chemistry and camaraderie that Clippers have shown throughout the season.  More attention has also been put on this supposed friction between the Lakers' two superstars Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard instead on the in sync connection between the Clippers' Chris Paul and his teammates on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.  It is as if the Clippers have been spending the entire season jumping up and down waving their hands and screaming at the top of their lungs "here I am, look at me," while everyone has their focus on a Laker team that has fallen from grace.  It is as if the Clippers can never win  because win or lose, they will always be forced to take the back seat in favor of the Lakers.

In a way, the media cannot be blamed too much for their over emphasis on the Lakers' woes rather than the meteoric rise of the once lowly Clippers because that is the way it has always been.  The Lakers historically has always been LA's golden child always excelling and being well behaving winning the approval of the lion share of the Los Angelites. The Clippers on the other hand, were viewed as a screw up sibling who many have considered the embarrassment that people would either ridicule or simply dare not mention.  Now the table have turned and now it is the Lakers who are now the screw ups while the Clippers have cleaned themselves up and turned their lives around for the better.  Unfortunately instead of congratulating and appreciating the Clippers' turn around, everyone has been focusing on scolding the Lakers and lamenting on how and why their golden child has fallen from their path.

Regardless of the lack of attention, this fact remains abundantly clear: the Pacific Division that has spent most of it's history in Laker hands now belong to the Clippers and it is no ways going to change anytime soon.  While the Lakers trudge and plod through the remainder on the season trying to get to the finish line in order to qualify for a playoff berth, the Clippers' future has already been set.  Short of a cataclysmic event which will see the Clips losing every game for the rest of the season, nothing and no one in the Pacific Division stand in the Clippers' way.  So go ahead and fawn over a fallen giant people because while you shed tear and spread blame for the Laker debacle, the Clippers will be on their way heading  to a possible NBA championship.  Once that happens, maybe just maybe eyes will finally turn on the Clippers as they watch and witness the crowning of a new King of LA,