It’s a shame that it took losing Chris Paul to the Rockets for the Clippers to finally act competent. The timeline as follows:
1. Paul-Redick-Griffin-Jordan. It was all about the starters.
2. Pierce or Bust. Pierce was supposed to be the small forward for the Clippers when Doc arrived in 2013. But the NBA put a gag order on all trades between LAC and the Celtics when the coaching trade was done (you can’t trade players for coaches and vice-versa). In Doc’s mind, if Pierce wasn’t the starting 3, nobody else was going to be. Doc picked up Pierce right after the Clippers 3–1 collapse to the Rockets, and around the time DeAndre Jordan bolted L.A. to Dallas to join the Mavericks.
3. Role Player Revolver. Guys who played for him, guys who defeated him, especially by those who’ve defeated him in the playoffs.
4. Nepotism. Doc traded for his son Austin. He improved, the rest of the team imploded. Putting personal issues over the betterment of the team. This was what made Doc Rivers corrupt.
After Chris Paul was traded…
1. Real depth. Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, DeAndre Liggins as contributors. Kyle Wiltjer and Darrun Hilliard as cap space casualties for tax deduction purposes (Clippers are tax repeaters for the 2017–18 season). Milos Teodosic from overseas for highlight reel support. Willie Reed as DeAndre’s backup. Sindarius Thornwell and Jawun Evans as development projects.
2. Finally, a small forward. Danilo Gallinari, a projected All Star who can play both forward positions. High offense at the cost of low defense and injury concerns. Clippers have no Sudden Death Shot maker — does Galli assume the role as last second man to attempt a non-tying game winning shot when down 1 or 2 points with less than 5 seconds left in the final quarter?
3. Doc Rivers demoted to coach. Now Doc will be forced to prove his worth by pushing the Clippers into the playoffs by any means necessary. No excuses now if they miss the playoffs except for one: we weren’t good enough, we screwed up.