If you missed the first edition of the LA NBA Power Rankings, you can find it here. The idea was to rank both Los Angeles NBA basketball teams as the 2012-2013 season progressed. Both teams had busy off-seasons; one building a starting five that would rank among the best ever assembled and made some additions to a very weak bench. While the other left a starting five that made it to the second round of the playoffs intact and built one of the deepest benches in recent NBA history.
What wins in the end? A great starting five with a somewhat weak bench or a really good starting five with a great bench? My vote was cast in September.
The Clippers took the inaugural LA NBA Power Ranking based on a strong preseason. The Lakers failed to win before the season started and looked a bit out of sync. The Clippers entered the NBA season as the undisputed kings of LA. Have things changed after the first three games of the regular season?
First, the facts.
Los Angeles Clippers
Scoreboard don't lie. Lakers limped out of the gate at 0-3 looking lost defensively and confused offensively. The Clippers on the other hand won two tough games, both played in a playoff-like atmosphere, and dropped one. It sorta takes the drama out of the rankings, doesn't it?
You may have noticed the "Final Edition" on the title of this post, let me explain.
For very obvious reasons, the Clippers, at least from a fans perspective, are attached at the hip to the Lakers. They share the same city and play in the same arena. They are linked, but not in the tweedle dee and tweedle dum way, its more like peanut butter and jelly. It's impossible to not think of tweedle dee when someone mentions tweedle dum and visa versa. The thought of one connects you to the other. With PB&J however its different for most. While the thought of peanut butter will conjure up thoughts of jelly, thinking jelly takes most to jam in a word association game.
Like PB&J, the Lakers and Clippers connection is very one-sided.
While the Lakers invariably conjure up discussions about championships, Magic Johnson, Jerry West and the Laker Girls talking to most about the Clippers is often a setup to discuss the Lakers.
I visited the Basketball Hall of Fame a few years ago with my Laker loving daughter. Among the pictures, stories and memorabilia there was a booth with a green screen. For a small fee you could get your picture taken with a backdrop featuring the great moments and players of your favorite team. Most of the great NBA franchises were represented, but not the Clippers.
Me: So, why is there no option for the Clippers?
Kid manning the booth: Well, most people prefer the Lakers.
I was reading the newspaper on my couch one morning and my son stopped and stared for longer than what would be considered normal. I finally looked up over the paper and gave him that "what are you looking at kid" glance. He said "You just look so weird reading that...that...what are those called again?"
Sad, but very true. Not only do I still enjoy reading the actual paper, I reached out to the LA Times about covering the Clippers through a blog. I asked for no pay only the opportunity to cover the most exciting team in the city. The Lakers had a blog, it seemed fair that the Clippers, the LOS ANGELES Clippers, had a blog on the LA Times, right?
LA Times Sports Editor: There is just no interest in the Clippers. This is a Laker town.
I have covered the Clippers now for three seasons. I don't do it because I am necessarily a Clipper fan; when asked I say that I am a fan of basketball. I love to watch the sport, play it and coach it - I love the game. In my minds eye, the best basketball team in the city over the last few seasons has been the Clippers.
So, this is the Final Edition of the LA NBA Power Ranking because I see it as the first step in disconnecting the Lakers from the Clippers. Its a tiny step, but I'm taking it and trust others will follow. I'm boldly going where few have wandered before. I envision a world where the Clippers are seen as what they are, the most exciting team - not in Los Angeles - but in the NBA. As a team not on the rise with a great future, but as a team that's arrived with a great present. A team with a chance to win a championship.
A team that stands on its own.