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Clippers make a good decision……wait, what??

Posted by Bill Koch on January 14, 2010

Blake Griffin dunk

We here at Ramble On would like to congratulate the Los Angeles Clippers today for making their first intelligent decision in franchise history.

It only took 26 years, but the Clippers finally got one right on Wednesday when they decided to bench Blake Griffin for his entire rookie season and allow the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft to have additional surgery on his fractured left kneecap. We won’t get to see the 6-foot-10, 251-pounder until summer league play at the earliest, and the Clippers are hopeful that he’ll be healthy to try his entry into the league all over again next year.

Griffin was originally scheduled to miss just six weeks when he suffered his initial injury during an exhibition game, but apparently his rehabilitation wasn’t going completely as planned. Los Angeles appears to have taken the cautious route with the power forward, a decision that could do more good than harm in the future. Usually the Clippers go the other way and attempt to destroy themselves.

Let’s be clear about this – Los Angeles has no chance to crack the Western Conference elite this season. The neighboring Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets are all still well ahead of the Clippers in terms of talent and experience. What the Clippers do have is a decent young nucleus starting with their first round pick last year, shooting guard Eric Gordon, and also featuring Al Thornton and DeAndre Jordan. Mix in another lottery pick that will be awarded to the franchise when they miss the playoffs again this season and veterans Baron Davis and Chris Kaman, and Los Angeles just might have a competitive group going forward. It’s a collection of players that will only be helped by Griffin’s rare mix of power and raw athleticism. Having Griffin 100 percent healthy is the only way that he can effectively use his physical skills in the NBA, and the Clippers have apparently seen the light.
Griffin is just the latest casualty of what looks to be a Clippers Curse for top draft picks, as he joins Danny Manning, Michael Olowokandi, Darius Miles and Shaun Livingston on a rather dubious list of young Los Angeles players who have been bitten hard by the injury bug. Manning, Miles and Livingston all suffered devastating knee injuries during their respective NBA careers and a variety of ailments contributed to Olowokandi being one of the biggest draft busts in league history. Manning is the only member of that group to recover and put together a productive NBA career, but even he wasn’t the same after tearing the ACL in his right knee during his rookie season. He teamed with Ron Harper, Loy Vaught and a host of other solid players to earn the Clippers a playoff berth in the early 1990s, but Manning never came close to being the solo force that he was when he led an undermanned Kansas team to the 1988 NCAA title.

The sixth-seeded Jayhawks were christened Danny and The Miracles, and a miracle is exactly what the Clippers have needed since moving from San Diego to Los Angeles in order to steal any headlines from Showtime. The Clippers’ decision to sit Griffin for the year might not lead the Los Angeles sports pages this morning, but it’s a good start if the Clippers want to earn any of that attention in the near future.

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