Opening Night: Time For Clippers’ Griffin And Jordan To Show Up And Show Out!


VIDEO: DeAndre Jordan abuses Utah’s Enes Kanter and finishes with authority

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Point fingers all you want at Chris Paul, coach Doc Rivers, owner Donald Sterling or anyone in Los Angeles this season. It doesn’t matter. Because it’s not on them … not If the Clippers are serious about making that move from pretender to contender.

It’s on two guys and two big guys in particular.

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the highlight stars in Hollywood, have to take that next step and put the Clippers in a position to cash in on the immense potential we all see on that roster. They were the missing piece last season in the playoffs, when the Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol exposed the Clippers’ soft underbelly in a first-round playoff ouster of the reigning Pacific Division champs.

The Clippers weren’t tough enough then and Griffin and Jordan clearly didn’t have the seasoning needed to win the series. But Rivers has infused the Clippers’ locker room with a new energy, a new confidence even, that will serve as fuel for Griffin and Jordan.

And it’s time for those two to show up, show out and take some of the pressure off of Paul, the team’s smallest player (in stature). We get our first glimpse tonight, when the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers open the season at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT). Griffin and Jordan couldn’t ask for a better opening test than the Lakers’ veteran frontcourt of Pau Gasol and ex-Clipper Chris Kaman.

If they want to justify the hype and make Rivers look like a genius for praising and challenging them simultaneously during the past few months, we’ll see it tonight in their play.

When he spoke about Jordan as a potential All-Star, to USA Today SportsSam Amick, his comments had to strike a (positive) nerve with Jordan — a player with big talent who still lacks the polish needed to dominate both ends of the court.

“He’s an All-Star, and whether he makes it or not I could care less about that part but I’m just saying that he’s at that level,” Rivers said. “DJ has the ability to affect an entire end of the floor. So how good was Deion Sanders? That’s how good DJ is. That’s the way I look at it.”

Griffin is already an All-Star. There’s no stroking of his ego needed. Rivers had to challenge his basketball IQ, his personal fabric and find out if he was willing to go to uncomfortable places within himself to improve and make himself more of a factor this season.

Combined, Griffin and Jordan have the ability to push the Clippers into the true-contender atmosphere. They’re talented enough to be the difference-makers in ways that few players in the league can, due mostly to the fact that they are physically superior to most opposing low-post duos.

But are they mentally tough enough? Are they skilled enough? Are they determined enough to become the collective force of nature that elevates the Clippers?

We’ll get a good sense tonight when the curtain comes up on their 2013-14 season!

12 Comments

  1. Gloria says:

    Dónde puedo seguir la liga en directo online?

  2. jimbo says:

    Mr Sekow I beg to differ with you. I believe the success of the “new Clippers” falls squarely on Coach Rivers shoulders this season. Why, because Mr Sterling deemed it more important to change his coach rather than go after another big man. Al Jefferson was available and he possesses all the skills required for the job. Al doesn’t have the athleticsm of DeAndre but his experience and basketball IQ would have made him the man for the job. The Clippers have a problem, their 2 starting big men (no offense intended) are not high IQ players, they are high in athleticism, which will get them TO the playoffs. They need higher IQ to get them THROUGH the playoffs. The coaching change is an improvement of “degrees”, meaning that unless Rivers can orchestrate better player decisions this season they will make it to the second round at best. Now if that is all the improvement Sterling is looking for then mission accomplished. If not…the Clips are still short a big man. That said, I will be rooting for them to go as deep as they can in the playoffs. GO CLIPS !!

  3. doug says:

    I would prefer they played a final against the bulls. I would love a Chris Paul Derick Rose match up. Plus Thibbs against Doc. Wow. That would be awsome

  4. Cold Joe says:

    Doc Rivers is overrated. The Clips won’t win as many as last year. Sterling continues to undermine his staff. lol lmfao!!!!

  5. Ryan says:

    This is DJ’s biggest season of his career. I don’t care that it was preseason DeAndre was blocking shots with perfect timing. The talent’s been there it was a matter having a coach that believes in him. Blake needs to be a little more consistent Clips will be fine. I really think they will go to finals against Heat or Pacers!!

  6. Roy says:

    This team will grab the #1 seed in the West with 60+ wins and make the western conference Finals. I’m not even a fan of the players (except CP3 and Blakes dunks), I just have mad respect and confidence that Doc will make this team amazing defensively (good thing they have a young anchor to develop like DeAndre) and be able to compete for a title in the next 1-3 years.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      No way. Reality check time.

      Deandre Jordan, currently, is not even close to being a legit All Star. Serge Ibaka (best NBA shot-blocker) will be an All Star well before Deandre (if he ever becomes one, which he won’t).

      Doc Rivers and CP3 sold out. I didn’t watch the game (cause Laker games are boring and get poor ratings, I bet), but Clippers lost big to a very weak Laker team. I know it’s only one game. But. Will the Clippers have a long winning streak like last season? NO WAY. They can’t even beat the Lakers, for goodness sake. HAHAHAHAHAH!! Rivers and CP3 are great, but now they got the big bucks rolling in. They’re not really hungry anymore. Just my opinion.

      Reggie Miller brought up a good point, though. When Dominique Wilkins had an Achillies injury, he needed 9-12 months to fully recover. HOWEVER, he failed to mention that this injuiry occurred when Dominique was in his prime. Difference here: K. Bryant is WAY PAST HIS PRIME. Even if he comes back by the All Star break, he will be awful. Then, he’ll probably just sit out the rest of the season because he will only play if he can ball-hog again to pad his inflated stats. Bryant will probably wind up basically sitting out the entire season while draining the Laker payroll. He’s going to milk LA all he can before he probably retires after the 2013-2014 season.

      • Joshua Greenfarb says:

        K. Bryant is going to secretly laugh while LA overpays him while he sits around doing NOTHING.

        Some people thought he’d be back by Christmas.

        YEAH RIGHT!! HAHAHAHAHAA!!!

  7. dominick says:

    Pretenders to contenders…..they can pretend all they want cuz we when they look up they see real contenders jerseys hangin

  8. kingwithringz says:

    Doc Rivers can make the stars fall from the sky.