Friday, December 18, 2015

Chris Paul a champion? Ain't gonna happen

There's good news, though. At long last, finally, mercifully, those dopey State Farm insurance commercials with his "twin brother" Cliff have been put out of our misery. The nerdier Paul made a killing on those ads. Big bucks in royalties. Cliffy's days of running around chasing fender benders are over. True, he never made it into the lofty atmosphere of the 1%er league like the Progressive Flo, but a few million ought to tide him over for a while. And if he somehow manages to blow that in a few years, he'll have to find somebody else to mooch off besides Chris.

That's because Chris Paul will be done himself in the NBA. He's now 30, which isn't a geezer, but considered a bit on the back side of his bell curve when it comes to playing at the highest level of basketball. Let's just say the coming years won't see him get any better. 

Thing is, despite all the hype and dopey self-serving commercials, Chris Paul is never going to be a champion. Whatever window may have been briefly open has slammed shut on him and his LA Clippers. 

The Western Conference of the NBA has been brutal in recent times. We've seen the spectacular crash and burn of the LA Lakers, the former Seattle Supersonics move to Okla City and become contenders, the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavs in the mix, and the ever-steady San Antonio Spurs maintain their standard of excellence under coach Gregg Popovich. The Spurs are currently 23-5, which in most times would be considered a superb win/loss record. But even they have been dwarfed by the meteoric rise of the Golden State Warriors. At last look the defending champs were a mind-boggling 25-1. 

Meanwhile, after getting knocked off in San Antonio -- again -- the Clippers are a respectable 16-11. Not bad, but in the whole scheme of things somewhat mediocre in the West. Does anybody really think these guys can contend for a title this year? Not likely. 

But perhaps the writing was on the wall years ago. As the all-knowing Sir Charles Barkley once said -- when your best player (Chris Paul) is only 6 feet tall, you will never win a championship. Ain't gonna happen.

Consider the rest of the Clippers. Blake Griffin can run, defend (sometimes), seemingly jump out of the building, and certainly dunk, but he's seriously flawed as an offensive player. Deandre Jordan is a big guy that does a lot of the dirty work close to the basket, but little else. 

The Clips recently picked up Paul Pierce. He's pushing 100, or least 40 (same thing in the NBA), and even in his Boston Celtics prime PP was a shoot first, worry about defense later kind of player. No way can he run up and down the court with the young boys any more, much less cover them.

Somehow the best basketball team at the Staples Center, which isn't saying much, also have a guy named Luc Mbah A Moute. He's from Cameroon, which is either a small country in Africa or what you get when you combine the Carolina Panthers quarterback with a meringue cookie.

Just the name itself is reason to give one pause. Say it quickly three times in a row phonetically.

Luke MMM Bah Ah Moo Tee.
Luke MMM Bah Ah Moo Tee.
Luke MMM Bah Ah Moo Tee.

Did it just start raining? Did your dog or cat suddenly turn into a vampire bat flying around inside the house? Is your garage door repeatedly opening and closing for no apparent reason? You gotta be careful with this sort of stuff.

Not long ago, Clips head coach Glen "Doc" Rivers said he would quit if then owner Donald Sterling was allowed to stay on. At the time, yours truly was hoping Sterling would last for one more year as all the legal wranglings and politically correct nonsense dragged out. Just to see if Doc would really give up a $7 million dollar a year gig to stand on principle.

But never fear, out went Sterling and along came new owner Steve Ballmer, and he upped Doc's salary to a whopping $10 million a year. You can often see Ballmer at Clippers games. He'll be the white bald guy doing a spaz dance a few rows behind their bench.

It doesn't matter. Rivers, the Clippers, and all crazy Steve's money will never be enough to win an NBA title. Nor will Doc's little nepotism ploy putting his kid Austin on the roster.

The Clips have some good players, but they're not built to be champions now or anytime in the near future. Besides their shortcomings, too many other teams in the West are just superior, from head coach on down to players and the systems that are in place.

Chris Paul? The only way he gets within sniffing distance of a championship during the waning years of his career is if he and his agent find a way to move him to a team that has a legitimate shot in the near future.

And that begs the question. What other team would take on Chris Paul, all 6 feet of him, the enormous salary he would command, and knowing full well he was already in his twilight years? Terrific -- and bigger matters -- point guards come out of college every year.

It's hard to imagine a scenario where Chris Paul could fit in as the final missing piece to propel a team on the brink of championship caliber over the edge. Chances are they already have a great point guard -- and likely much younger -- or they wouldn't be in that position.

So while he made have had a long semi-successful run with the Clippers, and made a few more millions on the side with his "brother" Cliff doing commercials, it would appear Chris Paul is destined to never win anything that truly matters.

Some things just ain't in the cards.

His golf swing notwithstanding, the what the f--- Chuck round mound of rebound gets something right every once in a while. 

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