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Blake Griffin on time with Clippers: ‘We ultimately didn’t accomplish anything’

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In six seasons with Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers won 66 percent of their games. Only the Spurs and Warriors won more during that span (2011-12 – 2016-17).

But L.A. lost thrice in the first round and thrice during the second round in that span.

The Clippers are moving onto a new era with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Griffin doesn’t sound as if he’s waiting for a pat on the back for moving the franchise forward.

Griffin, via Alex Wong of Yahoo Sports:

“We ultimately didn’t accomplish anything,” Griffin says. “In sports, that’s how you get measured… If they succeed, they’ll be the ones who really turned the franchise around and actually solidify them as not the same franchise that it was back in the day.”

I get why Griffin feels that way. He’s a competitor chasing a championship.

But I disagree and wish our discourse won’t so title-or-bust.

Those Clippers teams were very good. Particularly for the Donald Sterling-owned franchise. This was the best era in franchise history.

They were the last team to beat the Warriors in a playoff series before Golden State turned into a dynasty. They beat the Spurs in a series that was too good to belong in the first round. They won a lot of games.

Did they accomplish as much as they could have? No. Did they accomplish as much as they should have? Probably not. That blown 3-1 lead against the Rockets in 2015 will live in infamy.

But we should still appreciate what the Clippers did. It was far more than nothing.

Blake Griffin on recruiting this summer: ‘I think I was 0-for-3 this year’

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Kawhi Leonard denies he recruited Paul George to the Clippers, but the two definitely talked before George told Thunder management he wanted to be traded to Los Angeles to team up with Leonard.

Spencer Dinwiddie recruited Kyrie Irving to Brooklyn, who ended up bringing Kevin Durant into the mix as well.

There were a lot of stars recruiting stars this summer, and Blake Griffin tried to get in on it he said on the Pardon My Take podcast. It just didn’t exactly go as planned. (Hat tip Hoopshype.)

“I did a few calls, a few texts, a few reach-outs… You know what? I think I was 0 for 3 this year [laughs]…

“I texted him and literally like I think like 30 minutes later it was like ‘Jeff Green has signed with the Utah Jazz.'”

The Pistons were basically capped out this summer anyway, any moves had to be trades or deals for well below the market value of most players. Upgrading the roster this summer was going to be difficult under the best of circumstances.

Detroit did add some nice depth with Derrick Rose and Markieff Morris, but that was always about as good as it was going to get.

Despite Griffin’s best efforts.

Las Vegas NBA win totals for next season are out. Here are three bets worth your money.

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Las Vegas bookmakers are good at this: The win totals — the under/overs on how many wins a team will get next season — get you thinking “I could see that.”

Now that the dust has settled on the NBA summer (for the most part) Ceasers Palace Sportsbook put out its win totals for next season. Here they are, in order of highest to lowest:

Milwaukee Bucks 57
LA Clippers 55½
Philadelphia 76ers 54½
Utah Jazz 52½
Houston Rockets 52
Denver Nuggets 52
Los Angeles Lakers 51½
Indiana Pacers 48½
Boston Celtics 49½
Portland Trail Blazers 47½
Golden State Warriors 47
Brooklyn Nets 47
Toronto Raptors 45
San Antonio Spurs 43½
Miami Heat 43½
Dallas Mavericks 41
Orlando Magic 40½
New Orleans Pelicans 39
Detroit Pistons 37½
Sacramento Kings 37
Atlanta Hawks 36
Minnesota Timberwolves 35
Chicago Bulls 30½
Washington Wizards 28½
Oklahoma City Thunder 28
New York Knicks 27
Phoenix Suns 27
Memphis Grizzlies 25½
Cleveland Cavaliers 24
Charlotte Hornets 24

The Bucks and Clippers deserve the top spots, on paper they are the best teams heading into the season. The depth of the West, where 12 teams at least have legit playoff dreams, makes these numbers harder. Both Brooklyn and Golden State are at 47 wins, the Warriors will be the better team this season but in the West those wins will be harder to come by.

Here are what I see as the three best bets on the board:

1) Toronto Raptors over 45. Toronto is going to take a step back without Kawhi Leonard, but that number is way, way too low. Toronto went 17-5 without Leonard last season, and 10 of those games were the second night of back-to-backs. They were 4-5 against playoff teams and that includes wins over Golden State and Indiana without their Finals MVP. This is still a good team in a weaker East they are still going to be pushing 50 wins, especially with Pascal Siakam being a year older and OG Anunoby returning to the lineup. The only concern here is a mid-season sell-off of Kyle Lowry and others, but as it stands this is easy money.

2) Dallas Mavericks under 41. There are just too many questions here: How does Kristaps Porzingis look after missing a season with a torn ACL (and did you believe in him in the first place)? What kind of shape does Luka Doncic come back in and how much of a step forward does his game take? Will guys like Delon Wright and Seth Curry knock down enough shots to keep defenses honest? I like the way the Mavericks are building, I think there is real potential here, but in a deep West, I just don’t believe this year is their year to make a leap forward.

3) Detroit Pistons over 37.5. They won 41 games last season, they made moves this season that make them marginally better, and the top of the East got weaker. The Pistons are a slightly better than .500 team, not one you want to bet on to get past the first round, but 38 games? Blake Griffin gets them there.

 

Zion Williamson signs shoe deal with Nike’s Jordan Brand

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Russell Westbrook. Jimmy Butler. Blake Griffin. Chris Paul.

And now Zion Williamson has joined them as a Jordan Brand athlete. Williamson announced that he had signed with Jordan on his Instagram.

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Let’s Dance #JUMPMAN

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Williamson was probably the biggest shoe free agent on the market this summer. While still a rookie, he already is a huge marketing presence — Summer League in Las Vegas sold out to see him the first two nights (people ended up disappointed) — and it was estimated he would make north of $10 million a year on his rookie shoe deal.

While we have not heard official numbers yet, the rumors are he did get that money.

If true, this is the second-largest rookie shoe deal in history. LeBron James got seven-years, $87 million, however, Williamson is second and bumps Kevin Durant to third (seven years, $60 million).

There are rumors Puma had offered even a larger contact, but Williamson wanted to be a Jordan brand guy.

“I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the Jordan Brand family,” Williamson said in a statement. “Since I was a kid, I dreamed of making it to the league & having the type of impact on the game Michael Jordan had & continues to have today. He was one of those special athletes I looked up to.”

“Zion’s incredible determination, character and play are inspiring,” Michael Jordan said in a statement. “He’s an essential part of the new talent that will help lead the brand into the future. He told us he would ‘shock the world,’ and asked us to believe him. We do.”

Nike continues to dominate the NBA and basketball shoe market, with more than two-thirds of NBA players wearing Nikes. Even still, landing Williamson — who will play for the New Orleans Pelicans — was such a big score that Nike stock jumped up one percent on the news. He has the potential to be the next LeBron or Durant for Nike, if he can live up to the hype and weight of being the most discussed No. 1 pick in a decade.

He’s the kind of player who could sell a lot of shoes, and Jordan is betting on just that.