By Katherine Valadez |Staff Writer|
Until now, L.A. has really had only one basketball team.
The Lakers have always run the show, attracted the celebrities and made L.A. traffic even worse with their championship parades. It’s always been about that purple and gold, not whatever colors that other team in L.A. has on their jerseys.
The Clippers really were more like a “half” team. They were just the cheaper option for L.A.’s basketball fans to see a live basketball game without having to pay over 100 bucks just to sit in the nosebleeds.
But this season, Los Angeles has started to notice that not one, but two NBA teams play at the Staples Center.
That fact alone shouldn’t be enough to have Kobe and the gang shaking in their Nikes, but it gets worse for the leftovers Phil Jackson handed over to Mike Brown. The Clippers are young, talented and entertaining (just about everything the Lakers are not), and they actually have playoff potential.
Yeah, I just said Clippers and playoff in the same sentence, and it wasn’t a joke.
This Clippers squad has a legitimate shot at making the playoffs, which would be only the fifth time the franchise has made it to the postseason in the past 35 years.
Currently they lead the Pacific division over the Lakers, although the second half of the season will really dictate which team comes out on top.
But the Lakers look more like a team that is past its prime, while the Clippers are young and are hungry for more which I think means they’ll deliver during this critical time leading up to the postseason.
Although the loss of Chanucey Billups has the Clippers hurting for a shooting guard, Blake Griffin and co. have managed to pick up the slack. The Clippers have a bench that runs deep, with Mo Williams (a leading contender for Sixth Man of the Year) averaging 13.5 points per game , accounting for 50 percent of the bench scoring.
The Clippers have finally managed to get a superstar player they can build a franchise around in Griffin. Need I mention his dunk over Kendrick Perkins, which many are calling the dunk of the year?
The addition of Chris Paul has done way more for the Clippers than anything Josh McRoberts or Troy Murphy (who?) have done for the Lakers. Caron Butler and DeAndre Jordan are anything but dead weight, with Butler playing big in Thursday’s game against Sacramento and Jordan being on the receiving end for more lobs from Paul than Griffin.
If the Clippers can manage to acquire Ray Allen, they will be more than playoff material; they’ll actually be championship contenders.
Allen would provide the Clippers with a veteran shooting guard that comes with plenty of playoff experience and he’d add depth to starting lineup. Picking him up would make the team arguably the best team in the West.
At this point, the Clippers have a good chance of going far in the playoffs, further than the Lakers if Mitch Kupchak doesn’t make a good trade soon.
Now I’m not saying that Staples Center should start tearing down the Magic statue and put up one of Blake Griffin anytime soon, but I am saying that the Clippers look better than the Lakers in terms of longevity. And besides, they’re far more entertaining to watch than the stale Lakers, a team that has been known as the “Showtime” franchise.
The Lakeshow? Not anymore. Welcome to Lob City.