Los Angeles Clippers: 15 players who defined Lob City

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images /
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Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images /

player. 77. . Point guard. 2011-17. Chris Paul. 2

The entire impetus of the name “Lob City” is the idea that Chris Paul joining the Clippers meant he would be the one throwing the lobs. He certainly did that and more, propelling the franchise from bottom-feeder to perennial playoff squad.

The future Hall-of-Fame point guard joined the Clippers via trade in 2011 just prior to the start of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. He promptly got to work, and the Clippers ended with a 40-26 record. Their .606 winning percentage was the highest in franchise history. Paul finished First-Team All-NBA, First-Team All-Defense and third in MVP voting behind only LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

Paul spurred the team on to higher and higher regular season success, and in his six seasons with the team, the Clippers put up their six best seasons in franchise history. The postseason was always the wall he could not scale, however. In six seasons, Paul never advanced out of the second round.

That does not mean this team was without postseason highlights, from incredible comebacks against the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder, to epic seven-game series victories over the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs.

Paul was instrumental in one of the best postseason series in recent memory, a first-round matchup against the Spurs. With a clutch floater off-the-glass Paul may have ended the last true title run for Tim Duncan.

Paul was selected as an All-Star five times while in Los Angeles, named to five All-NBA teams and six All-Defense teams. Twice as a Clipper, he led the league in assists per game, and three times in steals. He is currently the active leader in both categories.

Paul was a vocal leader during the Donald Sterling crisis, has been the head of the NBA Player’s Union for a number of years, and overall been a prominent figure for social change in the country.

Even so, Paul may end up best known for arguing calls and falling short in the playoffs. Both are critical parts of who Paul is as a player, and the identity of the team during the “Lob City” era. As the Clippers’ best player, he set the tone for how they approached the game. Injuries, division and critical mistakes held this team back, and Paul experienced all three.

Yet in the end, the reality is that this team experienced unprecedented success under the direction of Paul, and it may be some time before they again have a player of his caliber. The conductor of “Lob City” left for the Houston Rockets and his chance at a title, but not before he left behind a lot of wins for a franchise bereft of them.