I've always liked Chuck. From the time in the playoffs when he put up 40 and some odd points against Webber, to his humbling loss to the bulls in the Finals, Chuck has always shown himself a warrior on the basketball court. As an anaylist he pulls no punches, speaks his mind, and is generally on point. Except when it came to the Clippers. At least that's what I thought.
I would get incredibly annoyed whenever Chuck would shoot down any ideas that the Clips were contenders. I mean we were number one in the West, no number one in the league, Lob City was a national tour de force and we had just rattled off a 17 game winning streak only to be denied our rightful place of legitimacy by claims that WE are " too soft, that we can never win when our toughest player is our point guard and that we would never be legitimate until Blake Griffin can impose his will on the game. "
My personal favorite though was much more grating, It was his pontification that there are only three contenders in the West; San Antonio, OKC and Memphis. To which every denizen of Clipper Nation would reply " we just beat Memphis in a 7 game series with our two best players injured.Charles Barkley you are an idiot."
But as time has passed maybe he isn't a total idiot, He's looking more and more clairvoyant, especially since the second half of the season began. The once hot clips have come crashing to earth along with our dreams of a possible Finals Appearance, our hopes of a Western Conference run fizzling with our plunge. Our past contests with the accepted contenders have been humiliating exposes of our weakness, and our brash claims to be contenders.
After surveying the general mood of Clips Nation, it is easy to see the dark clouds of frustration forming with each loss. Complaints of the ineptitude of our coach, the abysmal rotations, horrid perimeter defense,the lack of toughness outside of our point guard as well as the disappearance of our All Star, Mr. Must See BG aka Blake Griffin are concerning.
I think the thing that stings the most, is not the fact that Charles seems to be justified in his judgements of the Clippers as pretenders, but the fact that after every beat down, when you expect the fight of the clips to show up, they seem disinterested, disorganized and always a step too slow. Where is the scrap of last year's clips, the team that out grit and grinded the Grizzlies, where is the sense of urgency, the fire, the passion?
'm still not quite sure I agree that Chuck is a southern Nostradamus. I'm convinced that the fire is not gone, Im just hoping it doesn't take a first round exit or a loss of home court advantage to waken it, because by then it will be too late.