The self-destruction of the Lob City Clippers will always be one of the most enigmatic cases in the NBA. The team had one of the greatest point guards of all time, one of the most athletically diverse power forwards of all time, an All-Defensive 1st Team center, one of the best sharpshooters ever, a championship caliber coach, and arguably the greatest sixth man of all time. Yet despite that everything going for them, the team could never experience playoff success past the second round.
It’s hard to pinpoint why this self destruction happened. You could argue that it was because of unlucky playoff injuries, a lack of a top-tier small forward, or just a flat out choke job.
Earlier this month, Matt Barnes stated that the Clippers’ lack of success was due to egos.
“We really had one of the most talented teams that never won a championship in L.A. and I think it was our own fault. We were in our own way. Just too many egos, young acting.”
Everyone seems to have a different reason for why the Clippers failed, but Barnes’ suggestion of conflicting egos was the first of its kind. The statement made me want to speak with other members of the Lob City Clippers to verify the opinion, so I reached out to Dahntay Jones.
Known as a locker room veteran, Jones was a part of the 2015 Clippers team that blew a 3-1 lead against the Houston Rockets; he saw the team at its absolute lowest. I asked him about egos getting in the way of success, and he said this:
“They weren’t at the right age to coexist together. As you get older you know how to put some of the egos aside, and learn how to work better with each other. There was a lot of talent, a lot of different personalities, but when you get older you learn how to make those things work. You push forward for a common cause, but they weren’t at the right age to do that.”
Whether it’s Matt Barnes blaming egos, or Big Baby blaming Austin Rivers, the mystery of the Lob City Clippers will always be intriguing. The passive-aggressive relationship between Blake Griffin and Chris Paul still hasn’t been fully unraveled. One thing is for sure, the story of this team will make for a very interesting book once all the players have retired.