Nowhere to go but up! part deux

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clipper*joe
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Since it has been slow on topics and I want everyone to keep a sense of enthusiasm before the season starts. I wanted to post this blog for discussion. It was posted about a week ago. This blog reflects my feelings from my original post "nowhere to go but up". He also mentions of what I perceive to be the "contingent" few here on this site. When I first read it I could not help but think he was speaking about us here at TOPBUZZ. I might be wrong but I haven't seen any other site that has as much activity or any activity in the off-season for that matter. He must be talking about us.

In any case, I feel he reflects what most of us feel about the upcoming season. I don't know about you but talking about the Clips in the off-season gives me a sense of closeness to the team and fans alike. It's as if I'm addicted to a drug and I need my daily fix thus defining me as a true FANATIC.

Please read and opine.

By ClipperSteve

Posted on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 03:23:01 PM PDT

It's entirely possible that I'm reading too much into this, but the injury to Elton Brand seems to have affected some of the citizens of ClipsNation in a way I did not anticipate. There is a contingent, perhaps small but nonetheless out there, who have been energized by the situation. Given the importance of Brand to the team, my own immediate inclination was to despair, and without question there are plenty of citizens in that Clipper boat as well. But then I started to think about it, and suddenly it all made sense.

I would submit that 05-06 was the greatest season in the history of the Clippers, and that 06-07 was the worst. This is only my opinion of course, though most would agree that coming within a game of the Western Conference Semis qualifies 05-06 as the franchise's high water mark. But how could 40-42 represent the worst season when we're talking about a team that has won fewer than 20 games on six different occasions, including as recently as 2000? The answer is simple: expectations. There has never been a Clippers' team with higher expectations than last year. Sure, in 92-93 we thought they could be good (and they didn't really disappoint, finishing at .500 and making the playoffs). And 10 years later in 02-03 we had high hopes for Kandi, Brand, Odom, Maggette and Miller. But those expectations were to maybe make the playoffs - last year we were planning for top 4 in the West, hoping for even better than that. ClipsNation is entirely accustomed to mediocrity. But let's face it: the team has traditionally had to overachieve just to get to mediocre. It's an entirely different experience to underachieve, and some of us didn't know what to do with that feeling.

When Bill Fitch won 17 games in 97-98, I told anyone who would listen that he deserved to be the NBA Coach of the Year. Seriously. 17 wins with that group? Lamond Murray and Rodney Rogers are your two best players?

With Shawn Livingston and Elton Brand out indefinitely, the Clippers are in very familiar territory. No one expects them to do well. And for some fans, those low expectations are comfort food: the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese of the NBA off-season. It's not any good, but we grew up eating it.

There's something to be said for being better than expectations, if not actually any good. I've never understood how anyone could root for the Yankees. So what if you win the World Series? Weren't you supposed to win the World Series? Where's the pride in rooting for a team with a payroll three times the league average?

The simple fact of the matter is we're NBA fans in LA - if we wanted the easy way out, we'd root for the purple and gold. (OK, so it's not really so easy right now, but there was a time when it was easy for them.) We're Clipper fans not necessarily in spite of the low expectations, but very often because of them. We support underdogs. We would never jump on a bandwagon (which is why so many Clipper fans are transplants who chose the Clippers over the Lakers), and last season we started to see some trombones and maybe a flugelhorn in a minivan, if not exactly a wagon. To then fall far short of those expectations was particularly painful, and a different kind of pain to which we were wholly unaccustomed.

So by this reasoning, the season will be a success as long as it exceeds expectations. The key therefore is to make sure that expectations are as low as possible.

With a probable opening day lineup of Chris Kaman, Tim Thomas, Corey Maggette, Cat Mobley and a soon to be 38 year old Sam Cassell, my expectations are pretty damn low. Perfect. Pass the Mac and Cheese, please.

david
Site Admin
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I agree with most of what ClipperSteve says (he has a great Clipper blog BTW). Though I have to say that those crappy 16 and 17 win seasons were way more painful than last season. With Sammy gone for much of last season it was kind of to be expected that the team wouldn't do as well as 05-06 when he was such a huge difference maker. Also ClipperSteve seems to have pretty low expectations for this season. I'm not so sure about that- yet. I can envision them as a .500 team at this point- not to discount EB's importance to the team or anything. If another key piece like Cassell or Maggette go down then er- yeah- pass the mac and cheese! Wink

jlemmen43
Clipper All-Star
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Location: Green Bay, WI
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Brand being out is the best thing to make this team better. It's not the media or fans expectations that matter this year, it's the Clippers players expectations that is gonna matter. You could see and hear the shame that flowed from our players when we finished 40-42. They know they gotta do better...i think they will rise to that occasion. Brand's absense puts the ball even more in their court.

toohipcliptoslip
CTB MVP X1
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Guys guys guys

Last yr we tanked because of injuries both physical and mental and HUGE locker room squabbles. We played like doo-doo the first half and still should have made the PO's It wasn't because of lack of talent. This ain't the Clipps of old. Sterling wants to win and he's opened his cash stash but we need some good luck and everyone has to up. On a given day CK(???), Corey and Sam can pop 20. Cat's streaky but there. What about the new and improved Q? With some luck the bench will be stronger. What if Davis/Thornton give us some. What's your problem? Even without EB, not a bad team

clipper*joe
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My opinion only;

The purpose of the blog was to NOT PUT HIGH EXPECTATIONS this season . When we do that , the highs become highs and the lows are to be expected. The let down isn't that bad...if you will. He compared this to COMFORT FOOD. At least for me, it is safer to go into the new season not EXPECTING too much(.500) but HOPING for the BEST(winning the division). That to me is the Mac and Cheese.

I don't agree with last year being the the worst though, david got it right in pointing out the reasons for the shortcomings of last year's outcome. I kind of saw it as a default year due to injuries. Even with that, we still had a chance of making the play-offs on the last day. Toohipcliptoslip also points out that Sterling attitude has changed. He has proved that but sometimes even money can't buyout injuries to our best players. But the good news is that all the stars are lined up for a better future for our team but not until we get our guys back on the court. The squabbles are gone, Cassell isn't injured, and Kaman is working to fill the void of Eb and redeeming him self from last season. But the fact remains that EB will be out for a while. No matter how you slice it, that isn't COMFORT to anyone. Like I said, the Mac and Cheese is (.500) till EB comes back. That I know this team can achieve. Now if they can over achieve... more cheese for my mac!

I don't completely agree with everything that was written but I agree with his notion. This notion will keep me from pulling out my hair when my high expectations are not met. This will keep me from throwing a chair across the room when we're playing sub-par. This will keep me from screaming at the televison when I don't agree on the match-ups. This will keep me sane till EB and Livingston come back.

One might say I lowered my expectations . They might be right but that in no way means they have been lowered to the 80's and 90's standards. I just dropped it a few notches for a little while. The best way to put it is I am not settling on the Mac and Cheese but rather the GOURMET Mac and Cheese!

david
Site Admin
Posts: 8503
votes: 42

I agree guys- let's hope for some gourmet mac & cheese with generous chunks of lobster tail sprinkled on top.... Let's see how Al Thornton will step up and help. I know we shouldn't expect too much from a rookie but in this case he's gonna be thrown in there right away and I have a feeling that he will do well.

TD
Clipper Rookie
Posts: 73
Location: Peoria, Illinois
votes: 0

It's a good squad. Many solid vets, but no all-stars. Maybe they will play as a team and avoid squabbles. I think Cassell will be a better leader than as a player in Minne. They should compete in every game. Here's my line-up to finish games and make the "big" shot:

Thomas

Thorton

Maggette

Mobley

Cassell

Who do you guard?!

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