It has been a Clipper season like so many others. Disappointing, injury filled and ending with an apathetic team sleepwalking its way through the end of the season while the future looks murky.
We’ve seen that movie. And the sequels. Yet, Clippers fans want the trailer for next year’s movie. They want to be sold. They are an optimistic lot that wants to believe.
But we have no idea what that movie will look like. Apparently Neil Olshey will get to keep the general manager’s gig, at least for now, and through the draft. The caveat on that being predicting owner Donald Sterling’s thinking is like trying to predict earthquakes, an inexact science at best.
The bigger question is the coaching vacancy. Will it be filled before the draft or left open until later in the summer? Will it be left open so that a recruitment of LeBron James (you hear that name from some Clippers people, seriously) could include a “pick your coach” deal?
From various reports, we know that Larry Brown at one point made inquiry, because it is in his DNA to ask about any open job even if he has no intention of taking it. He’s is not leaving Charlotte with Michael Jordan as the owner. The name Byron Scott gets thrown around, but he is reportedly just not that interested.
The more likely outcome is a current assistant somewhere who wants a head gig (Fanhouse suggests Dallas assistant Dwane Casey) or someone who wants the job but has no experience, like television color commentator Mark Jackson.
There really is an opportunity for the Clippers. With cap space, another high draft pick and Blake Griffin coming next season (knocking on wood) to join a good core, the Clippers have the chance to reshape their roster and be good fast.
But it will all be moot if the Clippers — from owner Donald Sterling on down — don’t answer one question: What kind of team are they trying to build?
You think that is an obvious question, but how many teams around the NBA can you say clearly have a top to bottom organizational philosophy on building a team? Ten, tops? Maybe fewer. If you’re going to win you need to know what kind of team you are building — defense first, seven seconds or less, triangle, there are countless others — then get players to fit the system. What system best fits your star? Get a coach who can instill that system. Then go get role players who can blend with that system.
The Clippers have no organizational philosophy, no system, so the team floats with the winds of chance (as do a lot of franchises, the Clippers are just particularly inept at it). They need a direction. They need a steady hand on the rudder. That would make the movie interesting.
Although the smart money is another sequel to the usual Clippers movie.