by user DRE-LO
The biggest acquisition in this past NBA offseason that nobody has talked about was the addition of Sam Cassell to the Clippers. The Clippers have not had a real point guard in...ever. He was brought in to provide leadership and it was seen in him ripping Chris Kaman for not getting on the floor for a loose ball during the Nuggets late run in Game 1. His biggest impact will be felt on the young protege Shaun Livingston as he is groomed to be the Clippers PG for the future. Furthermore, Cassell was brought in to help change the direction, mindset and expectations for a franchise highly associated with failure.
It all has gone perfectly to plan.
In Game 1, The Clippers established themselves early on and then held on for a two-point victory as they played like a team hoping not to lose instead of going for the kill. Sam Cassell realized this and wasn't too thrilled despite the fact it was the Clipper's first playoff victory since 1993.
Game 2 was a completely different story as the Clippers stepped on the throat of Carmelo and the Nuggets in the 1st quarter and never looked back. They looked like a veteran playoff team with playoff savvy. They looked like a team that had settled in and were no longer nervous about the 2nd season. As much as Mike Dunleavy gets the credit for the solid head-coaching job done, the real credit goes to GM Elgin Baylor. Elgin Baylor drafted the cornerstone of the franchise in Elton Brand as well as Corey Maggette, Shaun Livingston and Chris Kaman. He signed a savvy shooting guard in Cuttino Mobley, signed Cassell. He was smart in trading an underused Chris Wilcox to pick up an outside shooter and ideal sixth-man in Radmanovic. Even through these losing seasons, Elgin had a vision and long-term plan and the Clippers are now reaping the benefits. Not only did he build a team with good depth for a long playoff-series, he built a team that will post winning seasons for years to come. There are now two teams in LA.
Lakers better scoot on over.
Tue 04/25/06, 7:32 pm EST