This is mostly a very broad, general response to Tim Kawakami's negative views on Baron joining the Clippers for the next five years and seemingly dragging the Clippers down to the level of the Warriors.
Tim seems to think the Clippers are just as "messed up" as the Warriors. It may be true at this moment in time but I believe the Clippers do have a bright future where the Warriors may not. I believe there is reason for hope in the Clippers organization while the Warriors infrastructure and core team seems unstable and disjointed.
Firstly I believe the Clippers as an organization has improved. I remember the days before I was a fan where I thought it was a stingy franchise that would NEVER pay enough money to keep anyone with star potential.
The Clippers were basically a team that showcased future talent for other teams.
But things got better. By signing guys like Brand and Magette and Kaman to long term contracts I felt that I could be a Clipper fan. I finally felt a sense of stability that they could build a team around a core set of talented guys. I felt like they could become a team that could make the playoffs every year and maybe even win a series or two.
Secondly although Brand left, they showed that they are willing to open up the wallet to sign a star player. Baron Davis is a big name player you can build around. I believe a good team must have a star player with a long term contract that other stars want to play with. Baron will definitely help attract free agent talent when available.
The Clippers will have money for the next two off seasons. Paul Davis, Ricky Davis, Jason Hart, Steve Novak, and Brian Skinner all come off the books at the end of this season for a total of about $7.5M. Camby, Mobley, Thomas, Gordon & Thornton all come off at the end of next season in 2010 for a total of about $29M.
The Clippers could be one of just a few teams that could afford one of possibly many superstar free agents at that time. And there could actually be an All Star willing to come to LA for (1) the money, (2) to play in a Big market (3) to play with Baron and Kaman and maybe some other bright young stars by that time?? (Taylor, Gordon, Jordan, Thornton).
Also, the organization just invested millions of dollars into a brand new state of the art, training facility with 24 hour access for players and coaches. This can only help erase all the negative feelings players used to have about sharing limited hours at a health club with public access. This facility will only help in recruiting better players.
Lastly, I believe the Clippers drafted very well the last couple of years. Taylor is looking like a steal and Gordon looks like he could be ready to become a starter very soon. Thornton seems like a very hard working, solid player as well. If he keeps improving every year, he could very well be the Clipper's leading scorer and possible All Star.
Yes, Dunleavy could dampen the future. Many Clipper fans get frustrated with his offensive sets, player rotations and constant micro-management/play-calling. But for the most part I think the positives outweigh the negatives.
Sure he subbed in a cold Daniel Ewing at the most critical moment in Clipper history, but don't forget Sam Cassell also forgot to bring the ball up past the half court line in time, turning the ball over at a crucial moment.
Sure Dunleavy was probably behind the Yaroslav Korolev pick. In hindsight of course they should have picked Monta Ellis(#40) or Danny Granger(#17). But you know tthat every team other than the Warriors, Pacers, Jazz(Deron), Hornets(Chris Paul) and Lakers(Bynum) probably regret not picking them too. Hindsight is always 20-20...
Without Dunleavy, maybe the Clippers don't get Cassell for Marko Jaric(yikes!).
Without Dunleavy, maybe the Clippers don't make the playoffs.
Without Dunleavy, maybe the Clippers don't actually win a playoff series.
Without Dunleavy, maybe the Clippers don't take the mighty Suns to seven games.
Without Dunleavy, the Clippers probably don't draft Kaman, Thornton, Gordon, Taylor and Jordan.
So all in all, even though it looks really bad for the Clippers right now, I think it's only going to get better for the Clippers in the future.
How long will it take? I'm beginning to think it will take at least 20 to 25 injury free games before they start looking good on a nightly basis. But I'm definitely hoping my gut is wrong and they start rolling sooner.
I definitely think all these days off in between games is actually hurting them from developing a flow. I hope the increase in frequency of games per week will help the team gel faster.
So what do you think?