Fire Doc, Trade Blake?

Those that know Lloydybird know that he’s a long suffering Sonics supporter who has been a defacto Clippers supporter since 2008 (based loosely on a Bilas-style ‘shittest available‘ at the time). Lloydybird cares about the Clippers and desparately wants to see them succeed and shove it up the Lakers.

However, after watching the Clippers rise on the back of the Chris Paul trade, it has been an annual cavalcade of bad luck and fuck ups for a team that should have done a lot better. It’s time for change – but without blowing things up.

Step 1 – Fire Doc

Yes, you read that right.

Doc was a great coach, but the game has completely left him and his methods behind. He also appears to have long lost his passion for the job. That is, except for when his team is about to lose to the Nets:

Or 25 seconds after his son has been ejected:

To further this point, consider which of these teams would swap coaches with the Clippers right now:

‘What drugs have you been inhaling’? 

  • San Antonio: Pop
  • Golden State: Kerr
  • Boston: Stevens
  • Charlotte: Clifford

‘We’ll call you back when we’ve stopped laughing’

  • Detroit: van Gundy
  • Atlanta: Budenholzer
  • Dallas: Carlisle
  • Minnesota: Thibs

‘Thanks for the offer, but you do realise our coach is more talented than yours, right?

  • Cleveland: Lue
  • LA Lakers: Walton
  • Milwaukee: Kidd
  • Orlando: Vogel
  • Utah: Snyder
  • Portland: Stotts

And how is it that a team sporting the likes of Paul (a top-5 talent), Griffin (a top-10 talent when playing at his peak), Jordan and Redick haven’t even come close to threatening a 60 win season in the last three years?

Making things even worse is that Doc is a horrendous GM who well and truly crossed and pissed all over the line when he egregiously signed his son to a 4 year, $44 million deal – all to the point where he actually trotted out this starting lineup against Houston on 29 December 2016 with Paul and Griffin sidelined due to injury:

  • Jordan
  • Mbah a Moute
  • Johnson
  • Reddick
  • Rivers

Suffice to say, the 140-116 disaster that followed was hardly a surprise – even with the Rockets missing Capela.

Step Two – Fire Doc’s son

Austin Rivers is a truly awful NBA basketball player. While he does some things nicely (e.g. driving to the basket) and has the occasional game where he blows up, he can’t shoot, can’t make plays, can’t pass and can barely defend.

His careeer-high PER is 11.6 and his current season stats read as follows:

  • PER: 11.0 (47th out of 68 point guards).
  • True shooting: 53.9% (24th) – a career high by the way, which will not and cannot last.
  • Free throw percentage: 64.8% – how does a professional NBA guard shoot free throws so poorly?
  • Assist rate: 18.0% (62nd).
  • Turnover rate: 9.0% (15th).
  • Usage: 17.5% (50th).
  • Rebound rate: 3.8% (64th) – almost EVERY NBA player is better.
  • Minutes per game: TWENTY FOUR POINT FOUR!

Seriously, would anyone else other than his own coach and GM dad have given him $11 million a year to do this shit?

Anyone?

Or how about I put it this way: Rivers Jnr will make more this year than Speights, Bass, Felton and Redick COMBINED.

The Clippers have to do everything possible to remove this embarrassing stain on the organisation. The only problem is that I can’t see a single GM retarded enough to take on Rivers Jnr for another three years and $33 million.

Step 3 – Trade Blake

Here’s the proposed trade:

  • Celtics get: Blake Griffin.
  • Clippers get: Jay Crowder, Amir Johnson and Brooklyn’s 2017 and 2018 draft picks.

Who says no?

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(PS: I tried really hard to sneak Rivers Jnr into this trade, but DG told me I was dreaming).

Why the Clippers would do this

Griffin is injury prone and may well have peaked. The problem is that the Clippers will probably never know what Griffin is capable of because:

  • he keeps getting injured;
  • he seems happy to keep shooting way too many long range twos;
  • his superior passing and play making are largely redundant with Paul on the same team; and
  • Paul would rather have females referee every game for the rest of his career than hand the reigns over to Blake.

On top of these things, Griffin’s post game is more ‘functional’ than great – due largely to his notoriously short T-rex arms and his defense remains questionable.

Paul and Griffin’s contracts also expire soon, so there’s that lurking in the background too.

The above trade would still allow the Clippers to win more or less 50-55 games and give them two very high draft picks to rebuild on the fly with. In the meantime, a starting lineup of Jordan, Amir Johnson, Crowder, Reddick and Paul would be more balanced (a little worse on offense and better on defense) and I don’t think the Clippers would miss a beat. They might even improve simply by not having to play Wesley Johnson, Mbah Moute and Pierce so much.

Why they wouldn’t

Griffin is still only 27 years old, while Paul will be 32 this May. Should the Clippers really be building around someone this age? Would trading Chris Paul net a better return?

Replacing Griffin with Crowder and Johnson would also leave the Clippers with absolutely no post threat on offense, making them more predictable for opposing defenses.

Lastly, while the trade makes sense strategically, it could really piss Paul off to the point where he leaves when his contract expires.

Why the Celtics would do this

Ainge apparently wants a star and Griffin is seemingly the best one available who’s punched out less than two people during his career. This would give the Celtics the following starting lineup:

  • Horford
  • Griffin
  • Brown
  • Bradley
  • Thomas

Griffin would also be a perfect fit to Boston’s playmaking-starved lineup. While his passing is largely redundant with the Clippers and Paul, it wouldn’t be in Boston.

A truly unleashed Griffin reaching his potential could also take the Celtics to another level. Possibly even a 60 win level and a challenge to the Cavs.

While Smart, Olynyk, Rozier, Zeller, Green and Jerebko off the bench doesn’t sound like much, it’s not too bad. Boston would also become a free agent destination for minimum salary vets looking to hook on to a contender, so the bench would also improve over time.

Why they wouldn’t

This trade would be a big risk for Boston for many of the reasons that the Clippers would want to make it.

Also, would the above starting lineup really move the needle for Boston as far as challenging the Cavs goes? So long as LeBron is under 35 and supported by Irving and a rejuvenated Love, then the Cavs look like they’re not going away in a hurry. The smart money says that Boston should hang on to what they have and build patiently through the draft in unearthing their next star. The question is whether Ainge is willing to be that patient. If he’s not, then the Clippers and Griffin may represent his best opportunity – particularly if Doc is still GM.


Feature image: Mark Runyon | BasketballSchedule.net