Did Sam Presti just warn us of a dominant force in the NBA's future?
In his exit interview this week, the Thunder GM shocked reporters when he credited the Los Angeles Clippers, who failed to make the playoffs this season, as having the best roster in the NBA.
He also boldly proclaimed they will win multiple titles.
The Clippers have yet to make a Finals appearance, and their chance to do that this season has passed. After losing both play-in games, they got kicked from contention.
But better days could lie ahead.
With Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, they have a core that can compete against anyone in the NBA. Put them alongside a talented group of role-players in Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris, Terance Mann, Robert Covington, Norman Powell, and Ivica Zubac, and it's easy to see why Presti is so high on what they've built.
As for everyone else, they don't seem to be nearly as impressed.
Whether it's due to their long history of failure, or simply the result of being in the shadow of the Lakers, the Clippers don't get the respect they deserve. Fortunately, the stars have coupled with team owner Steve Ballmer to change that reality.
“Why did so many in the town cheer against us? At some points it gets like this ... for a long time the Clippers were nothing, so nobody had to pay attention, and for people who had been Lakers fans forever, there’s no threat," said Ballmer. "Well, we’ve gotten pretty good. We’re actually serious, you can see we’re serious, we’re not the old screwed-up franchise in town, we’re getting our act together and I think because we’re getting our act together, it gets people like, ‘C’mon, you can’t get your act together, it’s just my team, my team is the only one that matters.'"
If fully healthy, the Clippers can make some serious noise. As their new arena finishes construction and their rivals continue to grow dysfunctional, these next few years could be the perfect opportunity to cement their status as an NBA elite.
Of course, until they capture a title, the infamous Clippers brand will continue to define them. But something says that will change real soon...