Despite the shortened 66 game schedule in the NBA this season, there are a good number of teams experiencing a comeback to earth after starting out hot. One of those teams is the Los Angeles Clippers, who were making a lot of noise heading into the season, but after dropping 11 of 18 recently, they are looking to be about a year away. Let’s take a look at what could be ailing the Clips, and what could be done to fix them.
Let’s be clear. The Clippers are not going to win the NBA championship in 2012. They will likely make the playoffs, but a first round exit is looking more and more likely. If they put up a solid fight or actually break thru and win a series, then they should consider this season a massive success. But it won’t come to that.
Blake Griffin’s awesome first year gave them the player needed to attract other talent, and they were able to secure Chris Paul to play alongside there new poster boy. Other pieces, such as Caron Butler and Kenyon Martin signed up too. But the Clippers forgot one critical thing.
The Clippers are similar to the Knicks at the beginning of the season in a few ways – two superstars trying to mesh, some strong pieces assembled, a hated owner, etc.
And they both started the season coached by men that many people question. Mike D’Antoni eventually lost his job in NYC because he could not get the team to play together.
The Clippers are coached by former NBA player Vinny Del Negro, who once coached the Chicago Bulls. His stint with the Bulls ended like it began, with a fizzle. When the Clippers hired him, there were a lot of questions.
And the Clippers offense has become extremely predictable. Despite having two of the best players in the league in Paul and Griffin, they are remarkably stale and predictable, and that is a symptom of the coaching. So the conclusion is simple.
Like D’Antoni, Vinny Del Negro must go. He is not well respected, but worse, he is not creative and has shown no ability to coach a team to the next level. He will likely stay on the remainder of the year, which means a first round exit, or worse, a collapse and no playoffs. But De Negro must go and a real coach must be hired for this team to reach it’s potential.