Did you know I have a journalism degree from LSU? It's true, I graduated this past December. So I'm like qualified or something to interview people. I mean a piece of paper says so so it has to be true right? Anyway, instead of pretending like I know anything about the Clippers, I sought out my pal Justin Russo who definitely knows stuff. Justin used to write for ClipsNation, now he writes about the Warriors for WarriorsWorld.net, and he's Los Angeles Dodgers writer DodgersNation.com. He also serves editor-in-chief for The Beat. You can follow him on Twitter @FlyByKnite. Let's see what Justin has to say.
1) Not that this game wasn't going to be a hard sell considering the Pelicans' poor record, but how much less watchable is this game now that Anthony Davis is going to be out?
It's pretty unwatchable. Especially since the Clippers just lost to the injured Grizzlies who featured about three NBA caliber players on the entire roster. For gods sake, they lost to a team starting Ryan Hollins at center! Ryan Hollins! To make matters worse, this game will be played during a March Madness weekend slate, and that's never good. This game is going to have abysmal ratings, and the product on the floor will not be pretty.
2) Speaking of star forwards being absent for this game, how big of a believer in Blake Griffin's Ewing Theory-ness? Do the Clippers, really need him?
The Clippers need him more than casual observers actually think. The entire team is predicated on ball movement and functional offense that generates high-quality looks for players. Without Blake Griffin there, they lose the 1-4 pick-and-roll that leads to easy lobs for DeAndre Jordan, and they lose the 1-4 pick-and-roll that leads to corner threes for shooters. He changes a lot of things, and his ball-handling helps Chris Paul out.
3) Would you have traded Blake? And if so what would it have taken to make a deal?
I wouldn't have traded him at the deadline. During the offseason is another story, but it depends on what you can get back. For instance, and this is just spitballing, if Kevin Durant tells the Thunder that he's gone but wants to play with the Clippers, then you'd have to think OKC would try to make a deal for Griffin possible. That I'd do. Then again, who wouldn't? There just aren't many deals out there for a guy like Griffin where you feel like you're getting equal value. And, no, Carmelo Anthony is not equal value no matter what people on Twitter will tell you.
4) How's Jeff Green acclimated to L.A.?
Like most of his career, it's been hit and miss. Jeff Green is the human rollercoaster. He's up, he's down, he's meh, he's there. He floats a lot, posts up needlessly a lot, and just collects a paycheck. Plus, his defense is not good. For as much grief as Lance Stephenson received from people, right or wrong, at least he tried. He actually competed his heart out. You can't say the same thing for Jeff Green, who sounds like he has a concussion now.
5) I hear some members of the Chicago White Sox don't want Adam Laroche to bring his son to the clubhouse as often as he does. Do the Clippers feel the same way toward Doc and his son?
I know some people - well, a lot of people - like to crack jokes about Austin Rivers, but he's been pretty valuable to the team this year. He's one of the only players who actually attacks the rim off the dribble or even moves to the rim off the ball on baseline cuts. On top of that, he's the team's best perimeter defender that won't be a Hall of Famer (hi, Chris Paul!). His shooting is bad, his free throws are blah, and his ball-handling can be toxic, but he does help. He might actually be the best Rivers that's associated with the team.
6) Do you look at all the injuries Eric Gordon has sustained in New Orleans and think "dadgum that could've been us" and if so, how happy are that it isn't?
First things first, Eric Gordon was my favorite Clipper. Hands down. I loved him. I was sad that they traded him, but I understood it. It's actually bummed me out to see what's happened to him considering how good he was at such a young age. He was so close to be possibly being the best two-way shooting guard in basketball, and then so many bad things just transpired that made it unable for him to reach his full potential. I'm happy the team didn't get saddled with that contract, but it's painful to watch what's become of him.
7) What's a better second round matchup for the Clippers: Golden State or San Antonio? And what do you think this team's ultimate destiny is?
San Antonio, by far, is the better matchup for the Clippers. While I still think they matchup with Golden State quite well, they still won't have a shot at beating them. They do have a shot against the Spurs, though, because Paul and Griffin are just so good. And also Jordan and Redick present certain problems that San Antonio has to deal with. Kawhi Leonard, as fantastic as he is, isn't as effective defensively against the Clippers when Los Angeles is at full-strength because they don't possess an actual wing scorer that he can key in on. If I had to choose, I'd rather play the Spurs.
8) I think we can all agree that Chris Paul is a dirty player yes? Has his legacy been enhanced any more in light of him hitting Kevin Durant in the dong?
Honestly, I just think everything he does is so highlighted to the point that any wayward arm motion is seen as dirty these days. I don't think he intentionally meant to hit Durant in the no-no place, but I get why people feel he did. But those same people cheered and clapped when Tony Allen kicked Paul in the face a few years ago, so it is what it is. I can see how people perceive him as dirty, I do, yet I don't feel he is. I think he wants to win so much that he's running a mile a minute both physically and mentally, and it just blurs together for brief instances of questionable replays. He does exaggerate contact, though. He also does get fouled a lot.
9) I don't mean to come off as a hypocrite because New Orleans certainly has no room to talk but come on, Chuck the Condor? Really?
Chuck The Condor sucks. I get the idea behind the mascot - which is to basically be a public figure for the team when players can't go to events, and also to help with public safety for kids and stuff - but he just sucks. He's terrible. A condor isn't even the state bird of California. Why a condor? No one's been able to explain it. The team's website even had two different measurements on the wingspan of an actual condor. Even the team doesn't know! It's all so clueless. Then again, it was always going to fail. It's 2016 and mascots suck. We just hate fun now. But, seriously, Chuck The Condor sucks. Majorly.