ESPN continued its deep dive into the NBA’s past on Thursday, releasing the all-time starting five for each franchise. Here is who they picked for the LA Clippers.
G: Chris Paul
F: Kawhi Leonard
F: Blake Griffin
F: Elton Brand
C: Bob McAdoo
Bob McAdoo is an obvious choice as the only player in franchise history to ever win MVP. He also won three consecutive scoring titles, is the only player in league history to ever average 30 points and 15 rebounds for a full season, and is the youngest player to record a 50-point, 20-rebound game. McAdoo had no trouble playing either big spot, and thus edges out DeAndre Jordan, Swen Nater, or Chris Kaman at center.
Power forward is the hardest call to make, and ESPN avoided making that decision altogether by picking both Blake Griffin and Elton Brand. If pressed, I might lean towards Brand because he was the best player on a playoff team, something Griffin never was thanks to Paul, but it is better to include both.
Chris Paul is another no-brainer. He is undoubtedly the greatest point guard in franchise history and ushered in the longest era of sustained success for the Clippers. Kawhi Leonard is a tougher call because he hasn’t even been with the team for a full season, but his performance this season eclipses that of almost anyone else to play for this organization.
The major gripe with this starting five is it isn’t really a cohesive lineup. There is no shooting guard, and Griffin and Brand don’t provide meaningful spacing. McAdoo had a decent jumper, but I still worry about how easily defensive could clog the paint against this group. Realistically, there aren’t any two-guards who deserve a spot, despite my personal affinity for Eric Piatkowski.
Ultimately, it is kind of cool to see the Clippers have so much high-level talent, all of whom hit their primes in Los Angeles, especially since there is a reasonable argument that this is Leonard’s best season of his career.
What do you think? Did ESPN get this right?
On to the links...
- Chris Paul spoke about “Blackballed”, both the production of the film and the real-life experience, with Trevor Noah on “The Daily Social Distancing Show”. I have really enjoyed the docuseries thus far; it makes me appreciate and admire the 2013-14 Clippers even more for their courage in that moment.
- The Athletic looked at some free agency contingency options for the Clippers if one of Montrezl Harrell, Marcus Morris, or JaMychal Green leaves the team this offseason. They also examined the effect of a lower salary cap on the Clippers’ plans for next season. Basically, the team will need Steve Ballmer to pay up.
- Staples Center approached the NBA about hosting games in the single-site scenario (since we can apparently no longer call it a bubble), but the league wasn’t interested.
- The NBA does appear to be settling on a timeline for resuming games. one that would start training camp on June 20 and finish the NBA Finals by September 20. It’s still unclear how the regular season could be shortened to keep schedules balanced, just one more detail the league will have to reckon with.
Was told this is the timeline for the NBA’s return:— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) May 21, 2020
Training Camp: June 20 - July 10
5 Regular Season Games: July 15-23
1st Round: July 25 - Aug 7
2nd Round: Aug 8 - Aug 21
Conference Finals: Aug 22 - Sep 5
Finals: Sep 7 - Sep 20
NBA Draft: Sep 25
Free Agency: Oct 1