Are the Clippers dealing with chemistry issues?


Losing brings interesting commentary. With majority observers on the outside looking in, most evaluations on a teams play stems from 1) poor play or 2) poor coaching. But with better knowledge comes more interesting intel in regards to what’s wrong with a team.

For the Los Angeles Clippers, that intel is leading to poor chemistry issues fracturing what could be another franchise-best season. In his “Morning Tip” column which features an assortment of content, writer David Aldridge had an interesting blurb coupled alongside the Clippers in his weekly power rankings:

"Is it personnel, or is it personal? Here’s the unvarnished opinion of someone who knows that team well: “They don’t like each other.” FWIW."

Aldridge isn’t the first writer to hint at chemistry issues in regards to the 20-11 Clippers. A few days prior, ESPN’s Bill Simmons hinted at similar troubles following Los Angeles’ somewhat embarrassing loss to Toronto.

While it may sound a bit far-fetched, this isn’t the first time “bad chemistry” and “Clippers” have been in the same sentence.

In April of 2013, then-Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers stated Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were “growing tired” of Chris Pauls‘ voice.

"The pair have also grown tired of Chris Paul‘s voice, which is understandable at times.Paul, very much like Kobe Bryant — who has turned off Dwight Howard with his out-of-this-world standards — is relentless. He never shuts up. And Jordan and Griffin have become weary of him.When asked about being annoying, Paul smiled and said, “I need to work on being a better leader.”"

Even if it is true that the Clippers core guys, notably Paul, Griffin, and Jordan, dislike playing with each other, chemistry issues rank low on the list of reasons why this team has disappointed so far. This team is without a starting small forward that can defend primary wings a.k.a the Kevin Durant‘s, Gordon Hayward‘s, and Kawhi Leonard‘s of the world, can’t defend as a unit for 48 minutes, is without a productive bench outside of Jamal Crawford, have to deal with poor general managing, and are dealing with a combination of a slightly-declining Chris Paul and underperforming Blake Griffin. Without injury, the Clippers are living out their worst-case scenario projections right before our eyes.

At this point, there’s not much to make of the team not liking each other unless it involves DeAndre Jordan. As the teams defensive anchor, a feud could lead to an eventual exit in the off-season, leaving Paul and Griffin without Jordan’s presence behind them — even if he improved in an extended role (starter), Spencer Hawes isn’t the man for the job.

Other than that, this is something they’ll have to work through. It’s not a requirement that teammates need to be buddy buddy to win games and possibly a championship, though the Clippers seem to grow further and further from their first Larry O’Brien trophy as the season progresses. We saw the early-2000 Lakers string off three championship while Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal openly hated each other and surely they weren’t the only team to have internal feuds during trophy runs; they were just the most publicized. Of course, the Clippers don’t have Shaq & Kobe talent, that Lakers supporting cast, or as talented a head coach to offset a blatant dislike between it’s stars, but that group is proof that it can be done if the cards are in place.

If not, it could be a long (but interesting) season in Los Angeles.

Next: Markazi of ESPN: 'Clippers to make roster move soon'