I was happy with yesterday's game against the nets. Yes, you read that right HAPPY. While most members of Clipsnation have begun the seemingly annual spiral into depression that comes with supporting our beloved Clippers a little bit early this season, I have found a renewed sense of hope. For the first time in this young season our team fielded a starting lineup with 3 rookies and 2 third year players with an average age of 21.4 years old. A glimpse into our future. And based on yesterday's game that future looks bleak.
But yesterday was just one game and even though we suffered our sixth straight loss in that game there are 71 more games to go. Yes, Blake Griffin did only grab 3 rebounds the entire game, and yes rebounding was the one thing we expected him to truly excel at this season. But Kevin Durant had a 4 point game, a 9 point game, and four 6 point games during his rookie season while everyone thought that scoring was the one thing he could do exceptionally well.
Deandre Jordan despite some notable plays looked lost out there picking stupid fouls and camping in the box numerous times which lead to free throws for the opposing team. But he's only averaging 17 minutes per game and has been held below that average numerous times even though our starting center has been sidelined and the team is supposed to be grooming him to eventually take over in that spot. In the only two games he has played for over 40 minutes he earned his career high in points at 26 and rebounds at 20. He needs more time out there especially if our only other option is Jarron Collins.
E-Squared played well given the circumstances with EJ scoring an amazing 30 points on 6 of 20 shooting while Ebled gave us the stats we have come to expect while providing us with a couple of great plays on the defensive end when the game was on the line. The Chief played well enough to justify his starting spot, sparking us on the third quarter although he hurt his 3 point percentage in this game which was one of the silver linings that we have clutched onto early in this season.
Yes, it was a maddeningly ugly game but there was also beauty in this madness. If you watched closely enough you could see these five young men who could all still be in college, smiling at each other after certain plays, communicating with each other during stoppages, trusting each other with the extra pass, and building little by little a very real chemistry.
Now there seems to be an identity crisis taking over in Clipper nation during this time, a split between those that still believe that our veterans can help us when they get back (Club Optimism) and those that believe we should set the youngsters free and start anew (Club Development) and even though in the larger scheme of things whatever team your on won't really affect the road this team will take (unless you are actually Niel Olshey) I think we must surrender to the idea that our greatest chance at future success lies in Club D. These kids won't develop if they don't get the playing time to do so, it's as simple as that. Baron Davis is a great point guard when healthy but every minute he's on the floor is a minute taken away from developing Eric Bledsoe and diminishing his chance to be great someday as well. Chris Kaman is an all star and is currently a better fit with Griffin with his ability to space the floor, but without enough playing time we may never see Deandre Jordan fulfill his potential and translate the great friendship he and Blake Griffin have off the court onto the court.
Yes it will take time, and yes we will have to suffer several more soul crushing losses along the way, but I would rather watch us suffer through a 3-29 start as the Thunder once did than delay the inevitable passing of the torch at the expense of our young core's development. Even though it physically hurts watching each and every embarrassing loss, I will be there in person or glued to the television watching this team rise and rise again until OUR lambs become Lions.