The Warriors beat the LA Clippers in a thriller at Roarcle tonight (129-127) on a last second drive by this year’s MVP, Steph Curry. He totaled 42 points while Kevin Durant had 35 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocked shots. They won despite the Clippers pouring in 18 3’s on 23 shots for an NBA record 78.3%. Thanks to Jerry West, he has masterminded some great trades to make the Clippers a legitimate threat to the Warriors. The rivalry today is much better than in the past when the Clippers had Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.
So, how did West rebuild the Clippers? He made a blockbuster trade with the Houston Rockets by sending Chris Paul to the Rockets and in return got a bundle of great players plus draft picks. Back in July of 2017, I wrote a blog entitled “Free Agency Winners and Losers”. Follows is a recap of what I thought about that trade.
The Rockets got a boost by the Chris Paul signing. Having said that, they had to give up 7 players (Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer, a protected first-round pick next year and cash considerations). This reminds me of the Hershel Walker trade between the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys where the Cowboys got 5 players and 7 draft picks. As we all know, the Cowboys became a dynasty and the Vikings became the Vikings. It is fitting that two ball hogs (James Harden and CP3) are on the same team. They’ll have nobody to pass the ball to but that’ll be fine with them. The Rockets instantly became a worse team and will fall to the middle of the pack in the West.
Since that article, the Rockets got worse as they did not resign Trevor Ariza nor Luc Mbah a Moute, their two best defenders.
West also traded Blake Griffin, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson to the Pistons for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, a 2018 first rounder and a 2019 second rounder.
And, he traded Paul Milsap to Denver and Jamal Crawford and a 1st Round pick (from the Houston trade) to Atlanta to acquired Danilo Gallinari from Denver.
Back to the Rockets, they re-signed Chris Paul to a horrible 4 year, $160 million contract. He is 33 years of age and has not been able to remain healthy for an entire year. The Rockets have no more room to attract any more impact players while the Clippers have plenty of salary cap room and may be the front runner in attracting Kawhi Leonard and possibly another super star in 2019.
Looking at the NBA standings as of December 23, 2018, the Clippers are in 6th place in the playoff rankings while the Rockets are in 8th place.
While giving all this praise to the Clippers, they and all other teams in the NBA do not play defense on a consistent basis like the Warriors. This is the ingredient that separates the Warriors from all other teams. NBA teams have done a decent job in emulating the Warriors offense as everyone is now shooting 3’s at an unprecedented rate. Every young player from grade school and up are trying to be the next Steph Curry. Steph has revolutionized the game like nobody else including Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and even LeBron James.
As long as Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green stay together, they will continue to dominate the NBA scene… PERIOD !!!