A column in the LA Times on Thursday raises the specter of tension among the Los Angeles Clippers, a team that has been portrayed as unusually close knit all season. Are selfishness and immaturity threatening to scuttle this historic Clippers season just as the playoffs are about to begin?
I'm guessing no.
You don't have to look any further than the byline on the column to realize that everything in it is probably overblown. T.J. Simers is an instigator -- this is what he does. I really don't think there's anyone in Los Angeles who takes him seriously.
Is it true that DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin had words in a Clippers huddle in Sacramento? I wasn't there so I don't know, but I'll happily stipulate to this disagreement happening. So what? Simers' big smoking gun in 76 games of basketball is one huddle in which Griffin snapped at Jordan for giving him a dirty look when he didn't get a pass? Really? Everyone knows that Griffin and Jordan are bros, a fact that is plainly evident and not just media hype. Google "Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan" and you get countless stories about their friendship -- amid this one story of an argument. Forgive me if I'm not convinced that animosity between Griffin and Jordan is the team's biggest problem.
Is Jordan dissatisfied with his playing time? Well, he should be. If he's not, he's not paying attention. Is it causing a problem? Not that I've noticed, not unless he's missing his free throws because he's so upset about his minutes (which would be ironic).
Are Griffin and Jordan tired of listening to the constant criticisms of Chris Paul? Well, it's worth noting that Simers offers not one shred of evidence for this claim. Not an anecdote. Not a rumor. Not an unnamed source. Not even so much as "I once saw Griffin roll his eyes while Paul was talking to him." He just puts it out there. Ten words by themselves with no support: "The pair have also grown tired of Chris Paul's voice." So take that for what it's worth. Simers' entire purpose in life is to stir up controversy, so when he says something controversial without anything backing it up, you can be pretty certain that it's not true.
Simers has been very supportive of the Clippers this season, surprisingly so. This is essentially the first attack piece he's written on the team all year, and I have a theory. I think he's trying to help. The team is clearly struggling, clearly lacking energy. Maybe T.J. thinks if he can give them an external image to work against, an enemy in the press box, he can help the team focus on playing better.
I see through you Simers. You're really a Clippers fanboy, doing your best to get the team back on track. Well played, sir. Well played.