The Clippers are better positioned to win their first ever NBA title than at any point in their 35-year history. The team has been bounced from the playoffs in their last three trips and have never once advanced past the conference semis, proving you can’t spell Lob City without an L.
Now, despite their ‘meh’ 18-7 record, the Clippers are built to last. So how did Steve Balmer and the Clippers organization acquire two MVP candidates in the same offseason?
The answer: ignoring the advice of Bill Simmons.
A thread on NBA Reddit is going viral for playing Monday morning quarterback against a June 2017 Bill Simmons piece titled, “An 11-Step Guide to Saving The Clippers,” in which The Boston Sports Guy provided a comprehensive playbook for the struggling Clippers to become who they are today. It was detailed, and confident, and totally wrong–top to bottom.
Let’s examine just how wrong.
1.) Let Blake Griffin Leave.
Simmons started out hot, because the Clippers did end up trading him in January 2018, but only after they signed him to a five-year, $173 million max deal in July 2017.
2.) Trade DeAndre Jordan to Milwaukee for Greg Monroe’s expiring contract and a top-four-protected first-round pick.
The Clippers held onto Jordan until his contract expired the following year.
3.) Trade Lou Williams.
Los Angeles not only kept Williams, but they smartly locked him into a three-year, $24 million extension. Lou has had the best three seasons of his career over the past three seasons (averaging 20+ ppg in all of them), is the heartbeat of the Clippers, and is one of the coolest motherfuckers on the planet. Them don’t come around often.
4.) Trade Beverley for a pick or a young player, but insist that Jamal Crawford becomes the “Beverley Tax” in any trade.
Nope. The Clippers just signed Beverley to a three-year extension this past offseason. The NBA has since learned the value of someone who is willing to die for plays that don’t show up on the stat sheet. Cc: Marcus Smart.
5.) Have a staring contest with Doc until he quits or asks to be bought out.
Credit to Simmons: Doc did give up his title of president of basketball operations, the Clippers signed Doc Rivers long-term directly after the their elimination from the 2019 NBA Playoffs.
6.) Don’t trade Austin Rivers.
Simmons begins his explanation with this: “Let’s see Austin go Westbrook.”
Rivers has played for two other teams since.
7.) Don’t break ground on that Inglewood arena yet.
The Clippers have committed $1 billion to do just the opposite.
8.) Don’t hire a long-term coach or GM.
In the summer of 2017, the Clippers lured Michael Winger away from a seven-year stints as a Thunder executive to become their GM.
9.) Next summer … LEBRON.
I can’t blame Simmons for this one. The idea of the most impressive physical specimen the game has ever seen playing in your city for 40+ games a season is an easy dream to chase. I’ll be the last one to say the Clippers are a better team for not having seriously chased LeBron. He got fucking Matthew Dellavedova a ring.
10.) Next summer … NO LEBRON.
Simmons argues that the Clippers will be forgotten about if they don’t get LeBron. Kawhi Leonard seems to be a good draw and a really fun guy and Lou Williams has 41 girlfriends so that’s tight too.
11.) Move the Clippers to Seattle.
Riiight after they construct a $1 billion stadium in Inglewood. That said, Seattle needs an NBA team and I choose the Brooklyn Nets as sacrifice.
No judgement here, Bill. We all swing and we all miss. I all but celebrated in the streets when the Celtics signed Kyrie and less than a calendar year later I’m throwing darts at pictures of his stupid face.
[h/t NBA Reddit]