There’s an old cliche about pro athletes that they’re always the last to know when it’s time to retire, and by then, it’s already too late. And no, we’re not necessarily talking about Paul Pierce, whose Hall of Fame career ended with a whimper on Sunday when the Clippers were ousted by the Jazz in Game 7.
Rather, it’s a mantra that holds true for the incarnations of entire teams, as well. For instance, many might argue that the Lob City era in Los Angeles has been over for some time now.
Except nobody thought to tell Doc Rivers. Despite years of underachieving (they’ve now set a rather dubious NBA record by blowing a series lead in five straight postseasons), the Clippers head coach and general manager said recently that he’d like to give it another go with his core group of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. It was an admirable thing to say, although it didn’t help any that he likened his group to the Stockton-Malone era Jazz, who of course came up short in the NBA Finals on consecutive occasions thanks to those pesky Bulls teams of the ’90s.
Yet not all of his logic behind wanting to keep Lob City intact is so flawed. Though they’ve been together for six seasons now, Paul, Griffin, and Jordan are all still firmly in their prime. Doc might also be forgiven for thinking that the interference of cosmic forces (i.e. untimely postseason injuries to their main stars two years in a row) has nothing to do with lack of talent, cohesion, or leadership.