In the aftermath of this latest loss, I like most of you need a place to vent. I'm not as disappointed at the loss tonight because I kind of expected it, which brings me to a couple of conclusions.
1. Memphis is a really good team.
I know that many hate their dirty style of play. They've been called fake thugs, floppers etc, but its a style that is effective, and frankly one that is lost in today's league. They may not have a true super-star, but they have two really solid all star type players, a steady functional system, good role players and the most important thing; the league's best defense.
I would not be surprised if they got to the Finals, and won a couple of games. In fact I want to root for them. I have the theory that I would rather lose to the best than just another run of the mill team.
2. Our veterans did not really act like veterans.
Veterans are supposed to be dependable, but for some odd reason ours did not show up or did not play at all. Billups proved to be a disaster, tuff juice, apparently ran out of juice last playoffs, lamar performed ok, and grant hill just did not play barring Vinny's experimental rotations.
3. Vinnie is a decent coach, terrible at adjustments but he was dealing with a good not a great hand.
I along with 99% of people think its time for Vinnie to go, but for those of you who may not have been familiar with the clippers old coach Dunleavy also known as Dumbleavy in these parts, Vinny is not so bad. Vinny proved to be effective at instilling confidence and a sense of freedom for our players. I think he served his purpose in leading us to some playoff success, but for the clippers to advance further I think they need a good/great coach. I think the clips new coach should probably fall somewhere in between Dunleavy who was about total control, and Vinnie who had 4 plays in his arsenal.
3.5-4 We lack both physical and mental toughness.
To be a great team you need to be physically and mentally tough. Memphis exposed our lack of physical toughness, by bullying us into submission. Some of us felt that we had enough toughness even though we knew that we had lost our toughest players from the previous year in Reggie Evans, and Kenyon Martin. Our hope proved to have been misplaced. We know DJ is the antithesis of a player that is mentally tough, Blake sometimes seems suspect at times along with Bledsoe when it comes down to mental focus. I have to agree with Barkley that CP3 has been our toughest player.
5.Going into the playoffs we didn't want to face Denver, Golden State, Spurs nor OkC.
If we did not feel confident going against half of the field in the playoffs, and then lose to a team that we thought we were better, doesn't that prove that we are not as good as we thought. I believe that we had a chance against those teams, but I was not completely confident that we could beat them. I think when you are a great team, you expect to beat any team you face in the playoffs. With the Clippers I always felt that our lack of a great coach along with our suspect perimeter defense would cost us against the above teams. I felt that we had handily defeated the Grizz a majority of the last 10 contests, and that we would defeat them in 6 games. I guess I underestimated the Grizz, and overestimated our Clips.
6. I believe this knockout will make us better next year.
Providing CP3 resigns, I believe Blake will continue to improve, we will get a better coach( hopefully) resign key guys such as Barnes, retain guys such as Crawford, and perhaps green and get rid of bad contracts; Billups, Butler, DJ. With a good coach, a solid Big who can shoot and defend, a big defensive guard, and another shooter or two I think we will be in the mix with the Thunder, Memphis, and the Spurs who should be a little worse as contenders.
So again Clips fans it sucks that we got kicked out, but sometimes getting beat down, only makes you strive for excellence, and let us not forget the many years that we would be waiting till June to see how we could screw up another lottery pick. So with perspective I say to NBA fans enjoy the rest of quality basketball we will see, though are clippers are out, we will be back and better next year.