Should the Clippers tank?

LA Clippers logo (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LA Clippers logo (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The LA Clippers are the eighth seed heading into the second half of the season, but what now? Should they start to tank?

Tanking is the obvious choice for the LA Clippers as missing the playoffs would allow them to retain their draft pick from the Boston Celtics; it would give the Clippers a lottery pick and save them from another potentially quick playoff exit.

Although Clipper Nation goes nuts every time this scrappy, energetic Clippers team mounts 20-point comebacks. You talk to most Clippers fan, and they tell you tanking is the right decision; but, why all of Clipper Nation was in complete bliss when Patrick Beverly hit those two three-pointers to put a bow on the team’s historic 28-point comeback against the Boston Celtics.

Secretly, Clippers fans want to make the playoffs this season, and you really can’t blame them. Despite the Clippers prosperous run for most of a decade, it’s difficult to forget the past. It’s a history filled with bad contracts, puzzling coaches, fluky injuries, poor draft selections – and losing top off with more losing and a side of extra loses.

Let’s take a trip back to 2008 to see why Clippers fan want to secretly see Montrezl Harrell muscle their team into the playoffs:

On October 29, 2008, the Los Angeles Clippers kicked off their season at Staples Center against the miscreants across the hallway, the Los Angeles Lakers.

It was shipwreck before the boat even left the harbor that night. The Lakers ran the Clippers out the building with a 38-poinit trouncing. Kobe Bryant must have gone off for one his vintage 50-point games for the Clippers to demolished that bad, right? No, the Black Mamba finished the contest with 16 points; but, the score ended up being 117-79 when the final buzzer sounded.

Frankly, the game was a complete embarrassment for the Clippers. However, it was only the start of an 82-game crapshoot that was generously labeled the “Los Angeles Clippers 2008-09 season.”

I like having hair so let’s just briefly go through some of the lowlights from this campaign:

The Clippers “marquee” player, Baron Davis, shot 37 percent from the field and even more abysmal 30-percent from behind the arc. You would think an NBA player shooting this atrocious would say to himself: “Gee, I should just take the ball to the hole.” But, no, Davis just kept taking five three-point attempts from what seemed like San Bernardino for him. An unmotivated Davis seemed have half his mind in the game and the other half on how he was going to spend his $65 million contract all season long.

Chris Kaman was dealing with injuries throughout the season. In other news, the sun also came up. The big man was diagnosed with a strained arch early in the campaign and wasn’t ever able to fully recover; he played just 31 games. How did this strained arch come to be? Well, according to Kaman, during a game in Oklahoma City, he stepped on a cameraman. Yup, it was that kind of a season.

Overall, the Clippers featured an uninspiring roster, which contained several very forgettable NBA players with names that came straight from an NBA2K computer generated rookie class. This isn’t hyperbole: Here are six generic names. Can you distinguish which ones wore a Clippers uniform in 2008-09?

Also, amid this catastrophic season the man in charge of weathering the storm was Mike Dunleavy, the team’s general manager and head coach. One day, I’ll write an entire column on Dunleavy’s ineptitude, and it will be mostly angry prattling; but, today is not that day. So, I’ll keep it simple today: The Clippers trusting Mike Dunleavy to lead the team during the 2008-09 season went as well as some bozo trusting Stevie Wonder to win a NASCAR race.

The most fight the Clippers showed that season came in game against the Phoenix Suns when Zach Randolph punched Louis Amundson. The power forward served a two-game suspension for throwing the haymaker. So, the Clippers couldn’t even catch a break there either.

The Clippers ended the season with a laughable 19-63 mark, and tied for the league’s second worst record.

Now back to 2019, those memories haven’t faded. Any sensible counselor would recommend Clipper Nation find a way to get over the fear; but, personally, I say Clipper Nation should embrace the fear. It helps remember just how far this franchise has come in so little time; it provides solace and makes winning that more delicious.

Yes, the side effects will always be the paranoia of losing and collapsing back into that remedial franchise; but, watching this season’s team win is too satisfying, especially to be doing it without an all-star on the roster.

So, it should be recognized that the Clippers missing out on the playoffs is probably best for the franchise; however, it is impossible for most Clippers fans to watch Landy Shamet splash a three-point shot and not think, “bring on the Warriors.”

So, if you see a Clippers fan walking down the street, he or she might tell you how exciting it would be to have DeAndre Hunter or Daniel Gafford in a Clippers uniform next season; but, deep down it’s a lie: Clippers fans want to see some playoff basketball this season.

I know, I know the long-term outcome is more important; however, Clippers fans can’t shake the feeling. Clippers fans have been through a lot.

So, should the Clippers tank rest of the season? Should Danilo Gallinari sit out games with a “groin strain” to end the season?

It’s a conflicting question, but this would be the best way to put it for Clipper Nation:

My mind is telling me, lottery pick; but, my heart is telling me, playoffs baby, playoffs.