I just read the Daily Dime on ESPN and they had a scouts message saying the Clippers were the laziest team he had ever seen. Now that is quite a statement. The laziest team ever seen in the NBA? What conspires to create the laziest team ever?
First off, I think it is that they play in the Laker's shadow. There is usually very little attention and fanfare. Unfortunately, little attention means little negative press when they suck. Little attention paid, few fans demanding improvement. So there is much less pressure to improve. And the Lakers are doing so well that it has to affect the conscious of the whole organization. They are the second fiddle, and the first fiddle has the best record in the NBA.
Not only is there little negativity when they lose, but there is little praise when they win? They beat the Celtics? Lakers did it twice already. Everything they do is already surpassed. It creates a very laissez-faire mentality.
Of he who little is expected, little is received.
Here are selected quotes from the Daily Dime's interview with anonymous scouts:
"I think a lot of people would say Toronto. Not me. The Clippers are the laziest team I've ever seen. I know they've had a lot of injuries, but they just don't play hard. Their good players don't play hard.
"They have enough talent to be relevant. But it looks to me like they're trying to become the Oakland Raiders, going out and getting all the guys who are on their last chance.
"So don't be surprised if they go after Iverson in the summer. If there's one place where [signing Iverson as a free agent] can sell tickets, it's there [in Clipperland]."
What does this mean for the rest of the season? As the focus and attention is focused in on the Lakers and their playoff race for homecourt, people will care less about the Clippers.
Teams in tight playoff races will most likely deliver the worst beatings to the Clippers. Teams either clearly in or clearly out would seem to take the Clippers most seriously. Younger teams will try harder than older teams (OKC).
Looking specifically at their schedule, they have a six game trip. I predict that two early wins would mean the would lose the rest of their games. They also play at Boston. Two factors here: revenge game for Boston (they lost at LA a few weeks ago) at home, and a tight playoff race. Boston doesn't let up and their bench is big, strong, and plays extremely hard. This could be a thirty to forty point loss.
They also host Cleveland and play at Denver twice. These two games will probably be one bad loss and one close game. If first game is close, second will be very bad, likely. Also, if the Clippers win the first one, they would almost certainly lose the second one.
They also host Portland and play at Utah. Those two games could be ugly. Portland is young and in a playoff race, but it is away. So that will hurt. However, it is at the end of the season so I don't know how full the stadium will be. The game at Utah will likely feature Utah in a very tight race for the highest playoff seeding possible. They are fresh (because of injuries and players finally returning) so they could give a pounding to LA.
I'll have to watch the Clippers as the season finishes to see if these predictions are right.