So I'm curious, since there has been the notion by the Clippers to "Build with Character" have you noticed the difference in the quotes that are made by Clipper players and the players of other teams?
An article recently had spoken of Deandre Jordan and his problems at the free throw line. Rather than getting defensive, Jordan acknowledged he had a problem with it, and he acknowledged he had to get better in rebounding. When Chris Paul was approached about how the Clippers are now contenders with him, he's constantly saying they have yet to prove anything. Blake Griffin never promised they would win a specific amount of games. Even Caron Butler has been quiet recently, and accepted his role as a third of fourth scorer. Mo Williams, although upset at coming off the bench has not seemed to be a detriment, and we haven't heard much about him coming from the locker room.
Evey Foye and Gomes (as much as people here have rattled on them) haven't had trouble coming off the bench despite starting most of their careers.
I'm not saying it's a huge change or that we're going to sustain this success, but it's like a huge culture change for the Clippers. Back in '06 we had Corey Maggette complaining about coming off the bench. We had Sam Cassell making excuses when we lost to Detroit (which featured Chauncey Billups at that time when they were killing the rest of the league in the regular season) that they had ran a marathon the previous night against the Suns. We also had Tim Thomas the year after (a year we were expecting to build on '06) who never played up to his contract.
And we had Dunleavy, who would favor some players, put others in the dog house, and be all for signing players based only on talent even if they were troubled players. Problem was, Dunleavy can't handle egos like some other coaches can. We had the Baron Davis experiment, who never played his hardest because he simply was not motivated, for whatever reason.
Even before '05-'06, we had Odom with marijuana problems and Miles who never developed his game beyond just dunking. We had Andre Miller who was just there for the year to become a free agent. We had Oliwakandi, a fussy English man who never lived up to his potential.
I really think right now we're being spoiled. I mean, I know a lot of us don't think Vinny is good, or Vinny is going to get this team up, but you forget that he's only got 3 years under his belt and as much inexperience he has coaching he's from the same San Antonio system that had the mantra of "build with character." There are a lot of talented players who have good character, and getting Chris Paul and Blake Griffin seems to have completely changed the culture.
Griffin played his mind out despite the record last season. Mo Williams played hard as well, and Paul even with injuries to other players on his Hornets team, even as a rookie has always given his best which has often times caused his teams to overachieve.
I'd say the culture change is now complete. Dwight Howard was reported in being intrigued (I still don't trust Sheridan) and J.R. Smith is already eying us (even though I hope we stay away from him), but even Caron Butler signed with us before we had CP3. I think it's the first time where the players on the team actually believe that losing is unacceptable even if bumps occur in the game.
It's really strange, because even though we went to the playoffs in '05-'06, I felt we overachieved that year. We started 8-2 and then won a few more games to 14-5, and the rest of the season went 33-32. There were many times during that season where it seemed we were just beating up on the weaker and mediocre teams, and losing to the good ones, being swept by San Antonio, Dallas, and Detroit. This season, we start 7-3 in a top heavy schedule and rather than peaking in the first 18 we seem to just be getting better.
This decade is going to be very interesting.