The Los Angeles Clippers have signed Josh Smith, pretty much wrapping up a summer of small transformations that they hope will take them to the NBA Finals. Their offseason transactions—losing Matt Barnes, Spencer Hawes, and Hedo Turkoglu, and gaining Lance Stephenson, Paul Pierce, and Josh Smith—probably make them a better team, considering wing depth was one of their biggest weaknesses last season.
But more important for our purposes, this team is going to be crazy next year! It’s full of athletes and entertainers and downright amazing basketball players, and also half a dozen players who are liable to implode or explode at any given moment. I mean, they were already a volatile team that averaged two technicals every three games, and they just added Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith to the mix!
Unfortunately for them they’re still probably just the fifth best team in the brutal West. But sports are more than about just winning, they’re also about entertainment, and one way or another the Los Angeles Clippers are going to entertain us next season.
Just look at this roster:
Chris Paul - Will not hesitate to hit you in the nuts or anywhere else that you are hurting, talks endless streams of shit, and was reportedly so hard on DeAndre Jordan that it was a defining reason why he decided to play for Dallas for about 96 hours. He’s also the best point guard in the NBA.
Austin Rivers - The “just lucky to be there” coach’s son who will surely invent some new way to make you sure that there are at least 90 point guards better than him.
Jamal Crawford - He might be the most confident player in the league, who doesn’t give a shit about anything other than scoring, will pull-up and shoot from even deeper than Stephen Curry, and is a master at kicking his leg out to draw the four-point play.
Paul Pierce - Oh, did I say that Jamal Crawford might be the most confident player in the league? I meant Paul Pierce. He was the best part of last season’s playoffs for a solid few weeks, alternating game-winning shots with Great Moments In Shit-Talking History.
Lance Stephenson - Lance is both actually bad bad—he pushed his girlfriend down a flight of stairs—and NBA “distraction” bad—like when he inexplicably blew in Lebron’s ear. But when he’s not doing those things, or sucking it up in Charlotte, he’s an explosive athlete who is a great ball handler for a small forward and can absolutely win games.
Josh Smith - I’m pretty sure Josh Smith isn’t good anymore, but the entertaining part is that he seemingly doesn’t know this, or if he does, he doesn’t care. He just keeps chucking and missing at the same historic rate, further suppressing memories of that glorious 2009-10 season when he only took seven threes all season long and bullied people to the hoop. I just can’t decide if it’s Doc Rivers or Chris Paul that is going to try and murder him first.
Blake Griffin - It’s Blake Griffin, do I really need to explain why watching him play basketball is fun?
DeAndre Jordan - This guy just pogo sticks around the court, jamming home alley-oops and blocking the shit out of shots. Sometimes he gets hacked and butchers a lot of free throws, which if not “entertaining” in the traditional sense is at least pretty interesting. He also doesn’t really like Chris Paul—is their newfound understanding going to hold when the Clippers blow a couple of games on a hellish 1-4 Eastern road trip and Jordan is unhappy about how many touches he is getting? Part of the reason he returned to Los Angeles is because he was promised more involvement in the offense. Which, I like DeAndre Jordan ... but have you seen him pass, dribble, or shoot from more than six feet away from the basket before?
Throw in a little Doc Rivers—a terrible GM and also maybe terrible coach whose reputation was burnished by having three future Hall-of-Famers and a defensive wizard sitting on the bench next to him—and a billionaire owner who flips his shit for simple layups and really wants to win, and you’ve got the recipe for one hell of an NBA season.