Guess what NBA fans, the Los Angeles Clippers are fine.
At the conclusion of the all-star break, Bill Simmons went on a rant on his podcast concerning himself with the Clippers. The lack of a second ball handler worried him, the fact he hates Marcus Morris inevitably came up and so did the perceived locker room issues stemming from the preferential treatment of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Before we even get into the fact the team has won five straight and passed the Phil Jackson test (yes that’s a real thing look below), lets break down the main issues Simmons brought up.
Firstly, the issue of the second ball handler. Right now, the Clippers don’t really have a single traditional point guard on their roster. Their current main handlers are Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley and recently added Reggie Jackson. Not exactly the 80’s Lakers point guard depth.
But what if I told you that having a great point guard is overrated.
Did the Miami Heat that went to four straight finals have one? Sure, people will mention LeBron but this was before he was the peak of his powers passer he is now. He was absolutely a better playmaker back then than what the Clippers have now but let’s not act like Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole were better at all than what the Clippers have.
Obviously, you need a point guard, don’t get that twisted. But for the Clippers and the way they play, Kawhi can burden a lot of the responsibility with Lou Williams. Sure, the main purpose of a lead guard for most teams is playmaking and to some extent that’s missed in LA. However, with their iso and pick and roll heavy offence, you don’t exactly need John Stockton out there to run it.
What Kawhi and Lou can do is control the pace to their liking which if we’re honest is the main job of a point guard in the NBA today. Go around the league. Show me the teams that rely on guards like those of the past. Today’s best control pace and Kawhi can certainly do that.
Now let’s look at Marcus Morris and the supporting cast.
Morris was brought into this team to do two things, shoot from the corner (where he’s elite) and put bodies on the other elite forwards in the west so Kawhi and PG can rest at times.
Last season was a mess for Morris, don’t get it twisted. He regularly burped up shots at the worst times and was the walking definition of a ball stopper. What he did do last year though, was he was undoubtedly the Celtics most consistent player offensively and for a team that was looking at playing Maurice Harkless who made a career in Portland out of not being consistent, it is an obvious upgrade.
With Morris in the fold now, the Clippers have eight guys you can trust in a game seven. More than last year’s Raptors who were lauded for their depth and certainly more than anyone outside of Milwaukee. The remainder of the regular season will allow them to all find their roles but the reality is, this team is certainly the deepest in the west.
Not lets finish with the narrative Kawhi and PG’s preferential treatment is an issue.
You know what Montrezl Harrell, I get you are a guy who is only in the league out of effort and tenacity and I respect you so much for that. I even get that you’re pissed because you think these guys have messed up the culture you had last season. Guess what though?
YOU LOST IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS AND ONLY CHANCE AT EVEN SNIFFING A TITLE IS KAWHI AND PAUL GEORGE BEING HEALTHY.
Sorry dude, your name is Montrezl Harrell, you’re a role player. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are NBA super stars, end of discussion.
All season long NBA fans have wanted the Clippers to turn up the intensity but look at the numbers, they always have been. The problem is just their two best players aren’t fully healthy and miss a lot of games, that’s it.
If Anthony Davis and Lebron were having the exact same season as the Clippers duo, the media would be pandering to them and exclaiming they had made an incredible step from where the Lakers were last year. Honestly, if that happened, they’d be right!
How are we forgetting that Kawhi and PG play for the most irrelevant franchise in pro sports, if they go to the conference finals they are already the two best Clippers ever. This franchise is a walking joke and the fact they get killed for missing games when not healthy is hilarious since they’re literally turning around the biggest laughing stock pre-Dolan Knicks.
Guess what guys, the Clippers are fine.
Don’t be surprised when they beat your team in the playoffs because that’s what they’re built for. Not some regular season game on a Wednesday in Memphis no one cares about. The Clippers are stocked and loaded for a playoff run.
Get on the bandwagon now or prepare to be run over.