In Memoriam: The "Lob City" Clippers, 2010-2018

With Blake Griffin shipped out to the Detroit Pistons, the Lob City Era has officially come to a close in Los Angeles. The Lob City Clippers may never have made it to the promise land, but they made basketball fun again for the Clippers fans that had endured many seasons of mediocracy and produced some of the most jaw-dropping highlights of the last decade.

In Memoriam, the "Lob City" Clippers, 2010-2018

It started with a one-handed alley-oop throwdown against the Portland Trail Blazers and ended with a game-winning three-pointer against the Memphis Grizzlies. Blake Griffin is no longer an LA Clipper, and the "Lob City Era" in Los Angeles has finally come to a close. Chris Paul gave the Clippers one final assist via his trade to the Houston Rockets in the off-season; Griffin is headed up north to pair up with Andre Drummond on the Detroit Pistons; J.J. Redick abandoned ship in free agency for one last hefty payday with the Philadelphia 76ers; and Jamal Crawford eventually found his way to the young Timberwolves in Minnesota, after the Clippers dumped him on the Atlanta Hawks in order to acquire Danilo Gallinari.

Even DeAndre Jordan, who recently eclipsed Randy Smith to become the Clippers' all-time leader in games played with the franchise, is on the trading block and is likely to be shipped out before the trade deadline in exchange for younger players and/or draft assets. The familiar faces that had become the new image of the LA Clippers, a team that broke franchise records for wins in a season and brought Clippers' fans their first ever Divisional Title in the 2012-2013 season, have all departed, and Doc Rivers and the Clippers' revamped front office are left picking up the pieces and looking to the future with a new vision.

The "Lob City" Clippers were a blast to watch and often looked like poetry in motion on the court. Chris Paul masterfully and meticulously ran the LA offense like a well-oiled death machine and dropped Clippers' fans' jaws with eye-opening passes that no other players in the league had the confidence or ability to make. Young Blake Griffin was a battering ram that was either going to go through you, or just straight up over you. Young Blake produced some of the greatest poster dunks in recent NBA history and was a huge part of the reason that the Clippers were much-watch television everytime they were on. Griffin received plenty of criticism from fans and experts alike, who claimed that the young forward could "only dunk" and that he would never become anything more than a dunker. Then Griffin evolved and proved them wrong, showing off a handle that would put some NBA guards to shame, developing a reliable jump shot that now stretches beyond the three-point line and will likely extend Griffin's career, and solidifying himself as one of the best big men passers in the modern NBA era. Even DeAndre Jordan, whose offensive abilities have always been limited to dunks, layups, and putbacks, improved in a multitude of ways during the "Lob City Era," becoming an annual Defensive Player of the Year Award candidate and producing some noteworthy poster dunks of his own. 

No, the "Lob City" Clippers never made it to the NBA Finals. No, they didn't even make it to the Western Conference Finals or even ever make it out of the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs. But for a franchise that had seen the postseason just four times since moving to Los Angeles for the 1984 NBA season, the "Lob City" Clippers were a breath of fresh air and a reward for all the years of misery and mediocracy. From 2012-2017, the Clippers never failed to make the playoffs with a seed higher than the sixth spot and only had one season where the team won less than 50 games, the 2011-2012 season that was shorted to 66 games because of a lockout. The trio of Blake Griffin (second with 10,117 career points as a Clipper), Chris Paul (fifth with 7,674 points) and DeAndre Jordan (tenth with 6,151 points) will all finish as top ten career point scorers for the Clippers. DeAndre Jordan will end his tenure with the Clippers (assuming he is dealt) as the franchise leader in career rebounds (6,917) and in career blocked shots (1,207). Chris Paul left the Clippers with a franchise leading 4,023 assists in an LA uniform. Griffin departs with the fourth most rebounds in franchise history (4,423) and the fifth most assists (1,954), a testament to how valuable his all-around game was to the Clippers.

The LA Clippers still haven't won an NBA Championship and are often still referred to as the Los Angeles Lakers' little brother. But during the "Lob City Era," the Clippers ran LA. Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan brought the Clippers out of the darkness and into the spotlight and put some respect on the name of a franchise that had been listed as the "Worst Franchise in Sports History" by Sports Illustrated in the early 2000s. Many people will forget about the success that the Clippers had during the "Lob City Era," blanketed by the rise of the Golden State Warriors dynasty and the dominance of LeBron James with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. But for Clippers' fans, the "Lob City Era" will go down as the best seasons of the LA Clippers franchise and will remain a distant memory of a time where things were simpler and our biggest issue was DeAndre Jordan's horrible free throw percentage. 

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