The Los Angeles Clippers suffered one of the most tragic postseason collapses of the last decade after losing three straight games to the Houston Rockets in their second-round series and subsequently failing to advance to the Western Conference Finals, for what would have been the first time in franchise history.
Now, they’re facing all sorts of questions. There have been rumors about rifts between Chris Paul and his teammates, namely DeAndre Jordan, who will be a free agent his summer. Doc Rivers, who doubles as GM, will have some difficult choices to make regarding his favorite big man as well as other roster adjustments going into next season.
But in the immediate aftermath of their Game 7 loss, Doc wasn’t thinking about the future. He was thinking about the past. He was remembering what it felt like to have his dreams of NBA immortality dashed during his playing days and what kept him coming back for more after every spirit-crushing season. The result was his own proprietary version of the “clear eyes, full hearts” speech.
Perhaps the most unfortunate part of the whole Clippers’ season is that their transcendent opening-round series against the Spurs, which was pushed to seven games and decided finally by a game-winning, series-clinching and career-defining shot by CP3, will be overshadowed by their semifinals implosion.
After two seasons under Doc and two straight disappointing finishes, the looming question is whether this current incarnation has what it takes to make a legitimate title run or whether a much more drastic overhaul is in order. Doc has said previously that retaining Jordan is a priority, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to do so or that it’s even in their best interest.
To make matters worse, Doc’s aptitude as a general manager remains suspect, at best. He filled out his roster this season with retreads (Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, etc.) whose best years are clearly behind them and whose post-season contributions were negligible. Former Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford, likewise, wasn’t much help against the Rockets and just turned 35.
Rivers can give all the motivational speeches in the world, but unless he makes some serious adjustments as both coach and GM, he might find himself delivering yet another one around this time next season following another disappointing ending.
(Via SB Nation)