What Went right...We snuck up on everybody
1. It all started with off-season moves which addressed the team's main needs,
Veteran leadership and a starting PG and outside shooting. Elgin Baylor and
Mike Dunleavy made the second best trade in team history stealing Sam Cassell and a 1st round pick for Marko Jaric. Sterling made a committment to win this season by signing off on the Mobley FA deal.
2. Players developed. EB silenced the critics and developed into a superstar and all NBA PF. Chris Kaman became a consistent force on both ends. Shaun Livingston continued his development as the PG of the future. Q Ross became one of the best outside defenders especially with his quiet tormenting of Carmelo Anthony in the 9 games played vs the McNuggets.
3. Elgin Baylor made a rare midseason trade that improved the Clips anemic 3 pt shooting in swapping Chris Predator Wilcox (who was languishing in Coach D's dog house) for Vlad Rad. The trade was the missing piece to the playoff puzzle.
4. We finally made the playoffs. A loophole in the system got the 6th place Clips home court advantage, a first round demolition of the McNuggets,
and a 7 game series against the scrappy speedy Suns.
5. The Clipper NATION was born. The Clips showed versatility in their style of tough team play led by team defense (set an NBA record against the Hornets limiting them to 26 points in a half) and were a breath of fresh air in LA in the shadow of the vanity of Kobe and the Lakers. These guys played as a team and were a team of good character players who people wanted to win led
by Sammy and all around good guy EB and that crazy jesus freak Kaveman and the hip stud Maximus Maggette.
After years of futility, Clip fans cant complaint too much about some of the dumb things that happened in the playoffs or the injuries.
1. Coaching in the playoffs. Overall, Dunleavy and staff did a great job
coaching this team. The players were on all on the same page. Solid team defense made up for individual weaknesses (Sammy and Vlad). However,
to reach the next level, the coach and staff cant afford to make critical errors in crunch time. Two major errors cost the team against the Suns.
The assistants didnt watch the clock in game 5 and tell Sammy he didnt
have 8 seconds to get the ball across the line late in the 4th quarter. Coach Dunleavy inserted a Rookie, Daniel Ewing to guard Raja Bell and Bell drained a 3 that allowed the Suns to tie and send the game into a 2nd OT which the Suns won. Winning game 5 would have changed the outcome of the series and probaly sent the Clips on to play the Mavs.
2. A midseason slump. Chris Wilcox started the season and ended his career in Coach Dunleavy's doghouse. His attitude brought his teammates down. The injury to Corey Maggette who was expected to be the team's 2nd option limited the offense. Without a mid-season trade, the team may have not made the playoffs or faced early elimination by the Spurs.
3. The draft. The jury is out on Korolev. Drafting Danny Granger would have been the safe pick. Korolev was clearly not ready for last year's draft.
The kid has potential but will he be worth the gamble.