The Clippers poor season is nothing new here to citizens of Clips Nation. Of course, there are a myriad of reasons for the Clippers 10-33 record to this point. I'd like to use this post to highlight two of the bigger and more talked about ones: Baron Davis and Mike Dunleavy.
I'll start off by saying that you probably know where I stand here. I've been frustrated with Baron Davis' play since the first quarter of the first game against the Lakers. ClipperSteve has already made a post about how bad Baron has been. That's just the statistical side, though. Baron looked completely apathetic when he was on the floor, and now he's got himself a boo boo. Okay, maybe that was a little harsh, but I expected a lot more out of our $65 million man who was also one of my favorite players last year. Maybe coming back home has actually been a bad thing for him, since it looks like his priority list has put his production company, grandma's cooking and flyfishing ahead of basketball. I for one feel that he has an obligation to try, or at least look like he is, on the court. However, he takes out his frustration with Dunleavy's offense in the form of terrible shots. He wants to run and gun, and he refuses to suceed without getting everything the way he wants it. Look, he needs to learn that there are other ways to win basketball games. He's more than capable of gettting it done in the halfcourt, if he tries. He's a 29 year old baby to put it simply. Last year, ESPN the magazine published an article on Baron and his quest for a title. He was a Warrior at the time, but when I read the article I felt like Baron had what it took to get to the promised land. Unfortunately, since sporting the Clipper jersey, Baron has acted like he deserves the respect of a champion without ever actually coming close to one. Last year, he had a swagger that almost created an aura about him. It was a confidence that the other guy couldn't beat him, no way, now how. Now, though, that swagger has turned into arrogance. He rolls his eyes at every non-call due to this disproportionate sense of entitlement. In arguing these calls, he was picking up technical fouls at a Rasheed Wallace like rate. His emotions are in all the wrong places. He needs to step it up a notch...or five.
As scathing as that may have sounded, I've thought over this issue a lot and I'm not going to ignore the other side of this argument. Interestingly enough, the other side seems to be coach Mike Dunleavy. In my time here at Clips Nation this season, I've found that the Baron supporters have blamed Mike Dunleavy for his struggles. This is a more than valid point. I want to make it clear that even though I criticize Baron, I'd like to say that I feel that Dunleavy should shoulder the blame. He signed Baron in the offseason, and he knew what Baron's strengths were. He should have the flexibility to open up the offense to accodomate his new star player. This whole iso offense is not conducive to Baron's style of play. Before the season started, I remember ClipperSteve making a post commenting on how the Clippers got a whole lot more athletic with the complete turnover in personnel. Dunleavy didn't really change his offense, though. He kept relying on the same offense. It works with Elton Brand, but he should change for Baron. If he was really expecting to get all $65 million out of Baron, he should have at least given him the opportunity to show what he did last year at Golden State. There has to be some sort of middle ground, at the very least. Unlike many of the people on this side of the argument, I do find Dunleavy to be an adequate coach. However, there are many flaws in his system, and I think his lack of flexibility is one of them. Being old school is one thing, but signing a big time free agent and not giving him some leeway is another thing all together.
Well, I think I've looked at both sides of the coin fairly evenly (Okay, I have an opinion too, but at least I examined the other side). I think that it might be time for these two rival camps to make a peace treaty. Those who feel it's Baron's fault should acknowledge that Dunleavy has played a big role in Baron's declined play. Those who feel that it's Dunleavy's fault shoult acknowledge Baron's lack of effort during certain times.
Anyways, I feel like I should open this discussion to the nice folks here at Clips Nation. There are a lot of opinions going around, and this seems like a good place to start with how we got to 10-33. What do you guys think?