Come for the Blake Griffin dunks; Stay for the rebuilding process
An all-star capable big man with a volatile and smothering game.
A young guard with unlimited scoring ability.
Lots of young, talented role players with the potential to become contributors in this league that truly matter.
I’m talking about the 2010 Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are an exciting young team right now. They’re showing glimpses of a future and of ridding themselves of demons past. Amazingly, they’re exactly what the Sacramento Kings need to be following right now.
I know the building plan was to be the new (healthy) Portland Trailblazers or try to replicate the quick successful career track of the Oklahoma City Thunder. But the progress from last season to this season hasn’t exactly been one of those walkways in the airport that help you cover ground like Derrick Rose. In fact, there is no progress for the Kings at all. Regression is the buzzword for the Kings this season and it’s causing a ton of basketball depression amongst Kings fans.
Being the new Blazers or the newer Thunder just isn’t in the cards this year. If anything, looking toward the Los Angeles Clippers for inspiration seems to be the way to go. The Kings shouldn’t look toward the Clippers as a way to build your team. This latest installment of the Clippers renovation is going to crumble under its Sterling foundation within the next two years. That’s what they always do.
What the Kings need to look toward as far as the Clippers’ current existence is how they handle the losing. Clippers culture is a losing culture. Yes, they have Blake Griffin and he’s a bowl of wow on the basketball court. But they’ve had Lamar Odom, Danny Manning and Darius Miles before. They’ve had guys with a lot of juice early on in their career who somehow don’t put it together for this franchise.
Maybe this time seems different but I have to see it to believe it.
Even though a team many hoped would make a playoff push is once again kicking it in the NBA cellar with a 9-22 record, the attitude around the team couldn’t be more upbeat. Their young guys are playing hard and trying to be excited about what they’re putting together. The coach isn’t pouting or being irrational about losing games now. He doesn’t necessarily accept losing as something that’s okay, but he’s also not punishing Blake Griffin for screaming at other plays when he’s dunking on them and trying to detonate their will.
This Clippers organization is taking the positives in the losses and not trying to force a winning culture that isn’t there yet. Maybe they’re just lucky because the Clippers excitement is an easier draw in a bigger market that already has a winner in the building. The willingness to not force that this team is winning and on the cusp of title aspirations does help with the overall psyche.
Nobody in the NBA likes to lose. Most guys who aren’t named Vince Carter hate it because it was not something they were used to doing while growing up. But taking a positive approach and not panicking can do so much for the psyche of your organization, it’s building blocks and the mood of the fans.
If the Clippers have figured out one thing, it’s how to lose and not panic. The Kings seem to be incapable of that. The Kings are struggling to grapple with entourages for the controlling destiny of the organization’s future. The Kings are desperately trying to show you this old house is great for viewing a basketball game that is most likely going to be a losing experience before the new mansion is built downtown in West Sacramento next to the old one hopefully anywhere in the greater Sacramento area.
The Kings are showing you DeMarcus Cousins is a good, young, marketable player with a halo hovering his head and a heart of gold. Earlier in the season, the Kings were boasting about being bigger and tougher. Now they’re trying to show you Cousins is as lovable as Barney or some other freaky mascot your toddlers love to watch.
The Kings aren’t embracing what they are or who they have anymore because this season didn’t turn out the way everyone hoped. The Clippers on the other hand are taking it all in stride and living out their fame on YouTube. The Kings don’t have that eye-popping guy with Tyreke incapable of duplicating what made him so fun to watch last season. But they do have a lot of young talent, capable of bringing energy and fun back to Arco.
In a sense, the Kings could use a little more Clipper in them. Don’t replicate the culture and the history of that fabled franchise. Just find a way to deal with the losing in a way that doesn’t make you look like you’re grasping at marketing straws.
The Clippers come to Sacramento tonight to show everybody how losing is done. Sometimes showing off your youth is the way to go.