The Love Triangle in Los Angeles
It has now been 4 seasons since the trio of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan have been together in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Clippers organization has gotten more and more attention as people are starting to open to the possibility of splitting the trio. Although the Clippers organization has an extremely talented point guard in Chris Paul, a versatile power forward in Blake Griffin and a strong defensive center in Deandre Jordan, they have never made it out of the Western Conference, let alone made it to the Western Conference Finals. This is troubling due to the fact that there were and still are many expectations from the fans. There are certain speculations that lead to the drama among these three players, mostly having to do with Chris Paul and Deandre Jordan.
Let’s start by giving a little background on each of the players. First off is the Clippers leader and point guard Chris Paul. Chris Paul has been an elite point guard ever since he was drafted to the New Orleans Hornets, also known as the New Orleans Pelicans, from Wake Forest University in the 2005 NBA Draft. During his years with his first team in the NBA, he was able to ascend as one of the top point guards in the league. He has a great IQ for basketball and is a pass first point guard. Chris Paul’s personality also says a lot about how he puts winning above anything else. He is a fighter and a scraper and he will always tell you what you need to improve. It is a trait that Chris Paul has because he has an immense hunger to win an NBA Championship. Chris Paul’s career averages are 18.8 ppg and 9.9 assists. He produces 41.4% of the Clippers offense, which is why he has the most respect of everyone in the organization and in my opinion, is more valuable to the organization than any other player on the team.
Next up is Blake Griffin. Drafted 1st overall in the 2009 NBA Draft from the University of Oklahoma, Blake Griffin has solidified his name as one of the best power forwards in the game. He knows how to be productive and knows how to control the field. He can hit jump shots, pass and knows how to give exciting dunks. He won the 2011 NBA Dunk Slam Contest in which he sealed the deal by jumping over a car and slamming it home. He averages 21.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. That’s pretty impressive for a power forward. Blake Griffin can do it all because he is very mobile and his handles are better than most players in the NBA. His jumping ability along with his speed and strength in the paint makes him a lethal threat to whoever his opponent is.
The last one of the trio is DeAndre Jordan. DJ is an elite defender and a very athletic center. DJ has been crashing the boards ever since he first joined the NBA. Although he doesn’t have a post-up game, and obviously is not a good free throw shooter, he is not afraid to get inside the paint and fight for the ball. As a center his job is to be more of a defensive player and get second chance opportunities for his teammates. When it comes to tight games, you can’t put DJ in the fourth quarter because of the hack-a-Jordan move. The best case scenario for DJ is to make one of 2 free throws, although it is highly unlikely. With the arrival of CP3 in LA, DJ has grown offensively throughout the years. Over the last three seasons he now averages a double-double. Throughout his career he has averages of 8.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
During the summer before the 2015-2016 season began, there have been a lot of rumors about what happened to the three players during that time. DJ verbally agreed during the summer last year that he was going to leave the LA Clippers and join the Dallas Mavericks. The rumors say that he was going to leave, not only because of the amount of money he was going to be getting or because Mark Cuban said that he was going to be “more central on offense”, but because he was tired of Chris Paul’s nagging about his work ethic and how DJ didn’t feel wanted in the LA Clippers organization. DJ got tired of it so he wanted to go the Mavs where he felt like he was going to be wanted. DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul were not getting along even before the summer of last year. It has been building up over time. Chris Paul’s nagging about DJ’s work ethic also contributed to why he wanted to leave the team last year. He felt unwanted because Chris Paul did things on the court during games that made him feel that way. CBS Sports states “He was tired of Paul’s constant barking and petty gestures, like distributing high-fives to the three other guys on the floor following a timeout but somehow freezing out Jordan. Optics aside, the biggest issue for Jordan was that, despite the leaps and bounds he made to be named First Team All-Defense, the Clippers always treated him like the player he was when he arrived in the NBA, and never like the player he’d become.” However, after all the rumors and all the different events that happened during the summer of last year, he re-signed with the LA Clippers.
The Clippers need to make a major statement going into this year. As a Clipper fan I am looking forward to this season. I feel that if all of them are on the same page and have the same intensity to win a championship, they will be a very tough opponent to beat. Besides, they have shown they can overcome obstacles. They took the Spurs to 7 games and beat them in the 2015 playoffs. After that thrilling first round series, they faced the Houston Rocket and were 48 minutes away from making their first Western Conference Finals appearance but lost 3 straight. The Los Angeles Clippers are a strong team but they need to work together not against each other.