Where Did Everyone Go?
When you have lived in an area for a long time, you learn to expect that certain things will happen. In Southern California, we expect rain in the winter, and we also expect that the UCLA basketball team will make it to the Sweet 16. We expect that the Lakers and possibly the Clippers will make it to the NBA playoffs. This is how it has been for a long time, and this is what we have grown to expect.
Regrettably, that did not happen this year. Both the Bruins and the Trojans
saw their basketball teams sent home early. Then, these disappointments were followed by the fact that neither the Clippers nor the Lakers will make the NBA playoffs this year. What are we going to do with ourselves? Additionally, why is this happening to us?
We have the best fans, and the best facilities. We also have the best weather. So, we are disappointed, and we are hoping that somehow all, or most, of our teams will rebound and then play at championship level.
There is some room for optimism, since it seems highly likely that King James will be playing basketball in Los Angeles next season. If that does happen, then the fans of the Clippers or the Lakers will be happy, at least for two or three more years. I do have the feeling that Steve Ballmer, the owner of the Clippers, is going to do something extremely dramatic before the next season starts. Being the brilliant man that he is, he has hired the legendary Jerry West to help the Clippers search for new talent. So, there will likely be a number of new, and likely better Clippers next year.
I do not have any explanation for the mediocrity of the basketball teams at both UCLA and USC. They are both incredible institutions, with fantastic facilities, huge student bodies, and thousands of basketball players in this area. Yet, they are constantly outperformed by smaller schools like Gonzaga, Duke, and Fullerton. Possibly, the young athletes realize that our local universities simply do not understand what it takes to have a winning basketball program. What other reason can there be?
I am a fan of Doc Rivers. He was a smart, tenacious, and talented basketball player. He has since become one of the most talented and respected head coaches, in the NBA.
He is an old style coach, who gives his teams, a lot of verbal energy from the bench. At his present age, it is very hard on both his vocal cords and on him. Unless Jerry West can stock the Clippers with some very talented players next year, I would respectfully suggest to Doc that he resign from head coaching.
The Lakers had a head coach named Bill Sharman. He was a great one, and he coached them to their ﬁrst championship over the dreaded Boston Celtics. However, he also did a lot of yelling from the sidelines. Regrettably, for him, he lost his voice entirely, and he was unable to speak. It seems to me, that unintentionally, Doc Rivers may be headed down that same road.