The L.A. Clippers are the NBA’s new hot franchise with a fan base popping up everywhere. Until now the Clippers have been a second rate franchise in one of the best basketball venues in the United States. For the past 35 years the Clippers have been little brother with the “Showtime” Lakers. However, this past season they have garnered a new nickname “Lob City”. This refers to the eye pleasing alley-oop dunks from Chris Paul to Blake Griffin. Blake Griffin over the past two seasons has had more spectacular highlights then most players do in their entire career. Blake’s most memorable highlight was in the L.A. during the All-Star dunk contest when he caught and dunked the ball while jumping over a car. Since then Blake Griffin has become one of the most marketable figures in the NBA being featured in a national ad campaign for Kia motors. Blake is the biggest reason for the rise of the L.A. Clippers.
The Clippers were the most talked about team this past off season when they acquired Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets. When Chris, one of the leagues best point guards, was acquired many declared them as the favorite to win the championship. With Paul being one of the best passers in the NBA, the highlights started to pile up with both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan having monster jams off of passes from Paul. However, the highlights masked a major flaw in the Clippers. The big men for the Clippers both DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin can only impact the game on the offensive end is with layups and dunks. DeAndre Jordan is an incredible athlete, but does not have an offensive repertoire. Blake Griffin on the other hand has a hard time making eleven and twelve foot jump shots, which are vital for a power forward. This flaw has come to the forefront against the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have forced Blake and DeAndre to beat them by making jump shots or tough lay-ups. Their inability to make shots has made their pick and roll, their most effective play, worthless. Without the pick and roll the clippers have some of the worst half-court offenses in the NBA. Right now against the Spurs their half court offense has been give the ball to Chris Paul and make him beat the entire defense.
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When the Clippers and Spurs playoff matchup was made many fans expected this to be the changing of the guard in the NBA. However, the Clippers have realized the Spurs are everything they need to be to win a championship. The Spurs have the best half-court offense in the NBA and share the ball so well with one another. Not to mention perfect spacing amongst all the players. The funny thing is the player Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan need to replicate the most is Tim Duncan the starting power forward for the Spurs. Tim is the most fundamentally sound big men the NBA has ever scene. He has an incredible repertoire of offensive moves while being a great passer. He has range out to 20 feet and has a great hook shot. Now imagine if Blake Griffin and DeAdnre Jordan develop an offensive game like that and both of those players are a lot more athletic then Tim. For the Clippers to take the next step as a team both Blake and DeAndre must take the next step on the offensive end. As for now “Lob City” will be nothing but eye candy and will be having second exits for many years to come.