The Los Angeles Clippers are still in search of their first NBA Finals appearance, let alone a first NBA title. While historically, the organization hasn't had a lot of success, recent decades have seen them put together teams with enough talent to have won at least one championship. Before the Kawhi Leonard and Paul George era came along, the Lob City Clippers were supposed to be the team that finally brought the ultimate success to the franchise.
This didn't end up transpiring for several reasons, with the Clippers often falling short when it mattered the most despite the incredible amount of talent on their roster. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan all in their prime were supposed to dominate, but reported rifts in the squad on and off the court, especially between Paul and Griffin, meant that their potential never translated to a title.
Different members of that roster have given their takes on why it didn't work, including JJ Redick and Matt Barnes has also given his perspective. Barnes was a contributing member on that team, one that was privy to a lot of what was happening behind the scenes, and speaking on 'Forgotten Seasons', he broke down exactly what went wrong for that star-studded cast.
"We really, really f***ed with each other off the court. We all hung out, our kids hung out, it was like a close-knit family. On the outside looking in, you would think, ‘Man, these Clippers have great chemistry’. Because we did, off the court.
"But then on the court, it was just, it was different. At times, we would look like the best team in the league, hands down. We would blow out the best teams in the league, we’d be hitting on all cylinders. And other times, there would be finger-pointing and issues.
"I know one of the issues was… it was the way that Chris Paul delivered his messages. Like Chris is a throwback type of guy that’s really gonna tell you like what the f**k he sees and what’s going on out there. And nine out of ten times, he’s right.
"There was definitely a disconnect at the top with our Big 3 sometimes, with the way Chris would deliver messages."
Chris Paul has always been a leader on the teams he's been on and he's had success that way throughout his career, even if he hasn't been able to win an NBA title. Blake Griffin was a superstar in his own right in that era though, so it's easy to see why things might have gone sour for the Clippers. It's a shame though, that team had all the tools necessary to win the NBA title and will go down as one of the bigger 'what ifs' in the history of the league.