If the Clippers want more than popularity—they have to win
New Los Angeles Clippers coach, Doc Rivers, requested the Lakers championship banners be covered during their home games at Staples Center, but if the new popular team in town really wants the respect the Lakers have earned, they will have to win an NBA title this season.
A “championship or nothing” standard is exactly what the Clippers have established for themselves after luring title pedigree coach Rivers, who won a crown in Boston and re-signed coveted free agent point guard, Chris Paul, to a long term deal.
In addition to bringing Paul, the feisty and demanding leader back into the fold, the team also returns high-flying power forward, Blake Griffin and thunder dunking center, DeAndre Jordan, to a team that won the Pacific Division title last season.
Last season that dynamic trio was good enough for one of the sixth best records in the NBA at 56-26 and fourth best in the Western Conference but with Rivers, much more is expected.
Paul demanded the Clippers bring in Rivers to coach instead of Vinny Del Negro and forced once thrifty owner, Donald Sterling, to open up his pocket book to add pieces around him.
Thus the Clippers dealt away promising point guard, Eric Bledsoe to Phoenix for floor stretching forward, Jared Dudley and signed sharp shooting guard, J.J. Reddick.
Former Bruins, Matt Barnes and veteran reserve center, Ryan Hollins were re-signed as free agents and they creatively picked up solid reserve guard, Darren Collison, another former UCLA standout.
Hollins starred at Pasadena Muir High School, while Collison hails from powerhouse Etiwanda. Both finished their high school careers as prestigious members of the Collision All-Star game where they earned MVP honors.
Many experts don’t pick the Clippers to unseat mighty Lebron ‘King’ James for the crown, but winning the Western Conference against an aging Spurs team and a Thunder squad that will start the season without electric Russell Westbrook is a live bet.
The Clippers will find out what they are made of straight out of the gate. On Halloween night, they play host to the run-and-gun Golden State Warriors and sharp shooting Seth Curry Oct. 31.
Then on Friday Nov. 1, they make their first real road trip to cow bell country for a date against the Sacramento Kings, which defeated them in their final preseason game.
Dwight Howard makes his return to Staples Center for the first time when he and James Harden bring the new-fueled Rockets into town on Nov. 4.
It’s back on the road after that and back-to-back affairs in Orlando against Aaron Afflalo and the Magic on Nov. 6 and their first of two up-and-close encounters with World Champion Miami Heat on Nov. 7.
Dunk City has been a sexy little moniker that has won the Clippers a legion of fans in Los Angeles, but if they want to own this town, they now have to ‘Stand and Deliver!’