Lob City … Alive And Kicking?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Blake Griffin said Lob City was dead.

He lied.

And that might actually be a good thing for the Los Angeles Clippers.

That obituary highlighted here and elsewhere at the start of training camp was a tad bit premature. The Clippers remain a highlight show waiting to happen under Doc Rivers, courtesy of Griffin and plays like this one (sorry Rudy Gobert). I’m not complaining, mind you. I loved everything about the Clippers’ Lob City routine. When you are a team in the midst of the transformation the Clippers are in right now, a clear-cut identity is a good thing to get a handle on.

And when you possess the parts the Clippers do — Griffin, a masterful architect in Chris Paul, a fellow high-flyer in big man DeAndre Jordan and others — playing to those strengths, at least offensively, makes perfect sense.

The Clippers have the personnel to run several different styles. Versatile talents like Jamal Crawford, Jared Dudley, J.J. Redick (who made his preseason debut in Wednesday night’s win over the Utah Jazz), Matt Barnes, Ryan HollinsByron Mullens, Darren Collison and others give Rivers an assortment of player to choose from on any given night.

Continuing the Lob City movement would be no problem, if that’s what Rivers wanted to do. Rivers, of course, has already made it clear he has something else in mind. He wants to upgrade the toughness of this crew and make sure they are don’t fall into the trap of thinking highlight plays will deliver them deep into the playoffs.

It’s going to take more than a month to teach, preach and truly embed his philosophy into the collective psyche of this bunch.

But Paul is the ideal leader to spearhead Rivers’ effort. He bought in immediately, before free agency began in July. So Rivers has already solidified the initial bond with the principles needed to run whatever system he needs. Griffin and Jordan are his biggest projects and, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, they’re all in as well:

“Actions speak louder than words. You can say this or that, but then you get out there and it doesn’t really happen,” Griffin said when asked why he has responded to Rivers’ approach so quickly. “I think that’s the biggest reason. He says it, and then you see it in action.”

As the senior vice president of basketball operations, Rivers has the power to trade any of his players. That’s something of a double-edged sword for a coach. That power isn’t always a good thing. But in Rivers’ case, so far at least, it has helped his relationships with the two players who are crucial to the Clippers’ championship aspirations.

From the jump, he looked both in the eye and said he believed in them.

“As soon as [Rivers] got here he told me, ‘We’re going to do it here with you,’ ” Jordan said. “He looked me in my eyes and I knew he was telling the truth.

“I respected that on a different level once he told me that up front.”

It was exactly what he needed to hear after two seasons of feeling insecure about his place in the organization’s plans, and a summer of reading his name in trade rumors.

“This summer, I just felt like he had to be here for us to be what we want to be,” Rivers said. “And he’s done it. He’s really played terrific basketball. His defense has been unbelievable.

“You guys can’t hear his talk, but I can. His talk on the floor has been terrific. I didn’t know DeAndre so I didn’t know if he could or would do that. But he’s been just off the charts.”

All of that precious Ubuntu-esque chatter can’t obscure the obvious. The Clippers, at least through the preseason, are still relying on the same things they did before Rivers arrived. Lob City is alive and kicking.

Chances are the Clippers will need to lean on that familiar mode of operation at times throughout this season, even as they pledge to continue digging that early grave for Lob City!


  1. goldinboye says:

    clippers are weak, griffin/jordan is not the real deal. jersey sales team, eternal 1st round/semis.

  2. SoulChorea says:

    You could’ve at least had a….a lob in the video clip….

  3. sports fan says:

    Doc Rivers said in an interview that he’s all for the lob city part of the game but wants to fix all of the teams weaknesses. He’ll improve their defense & their half court game. Griffin & Jordan will also play better under Doc. This will be the team to beat in the west & I think they’ll go to the finals but I’m not convinced yet that they can win it all.

  4. AnthologyG2 says:

    Clippers were Top 5 in like 4-5 different categories. They played Good defense. Just not Great defense.

  5. Roy says:

    I honestly think Doc will make this the team to beat in the west for the next 1-3 years. Along with Golden State. OKC is overrated, the spurs are pretty much done, and Houston will need time to grow.

  6. joel says:

    andrew wiggins ahahahaha

  7. Tony Moua says:

    Blake griffin needs to play dedense if he plays defense like he does high flying lac be a beast. But too bad blake griffin is horrible I mean he makes it look so bad it makes chris paul look better being a big man. Than there is the setting pick issue with blake. He just doesn’t know how to set picks to give chris a little space since all eyes on chris. De Andre though on another hand great defense but poor free throws it just doesn’t work. They need to improve with little simple plays and they will be dominant.

  8. lee says:

    lob city wasnt the problem it was them not playing defense and them not shooting outside well the have fixed one of those things just by the signings the made lets see if the can learn how to play defense i really wish the couldve found a way to get garnett and pearce it didnt have happen of course but that wouldve been a great pick up the shouldve also went for a guy like dalemboret him and garnett woudve been great for the center and great for teaching griffen how to play defense and use those athletic abilities the right way

  9. Dr. K says:

    You can have your lob city and eat it too. The lakers were still amazing despite the ‘show time’ casting. The bull were amazing with Superman-Batman-Rodman (sorry grant but you were ok…Rodman was a beast). You don’t have to give up something to become something greater…keep lob city and…………………………………JUST……………………………WIN!!!

      • B-Ball4Life says:

        yes they will win! Your Lakers won’t even win 30 Games…hahahahaha

      • Denholm says:

        pretty sure they were 56-26 for the season, the problem was their offensive system relied on paul getting them out of tight spots and a lot of griffin and jordan dunks and lack of defense, you can blame del negro for some of that, but retooled roster, the 2nd best coach in the NBA, i think clips take top seed in the west, and at least go to conference finals, it is officially time for the lakers to step aside because for the time being, the clippers are the franchise to fear in los angeles.