Following Chauncey Billups’ season ending injury, the Los Angeles Clippers have become a 500 team. A sad pattern has developed: Chris Paul gives everything he can possibly give to get a win one night only to come short the following. Chris Paul’s heroics against the Houston Rockets on Sunday pushed the game in overtime and ultimately won. Last night after being fouled by Minnesota’s Derrick Williams, Chris Paul misses the final free throw that would’ve sent the game into overtime for a second night in a row. Obviously, Paul’s recent troubles closing out a game has sparked or perhaps jokingly sparked the “CP3 isn’t clutch” debate on Twitter, but is Paul really to blame for the Clippers’ post Chauncey short comings?
The Clippers could’ve solved some of the post Chauncey woes by signing the once exiled JR Smith, but the Clippers didn’t have a lot of money to offer and it was the height of Linsanity. So, it made more sense for Smith to go where the money and most media attention was. There also isn’t a tremendous amount of depth to the Clippers which may make a potential trade to rent a veteran difficult. Also do you trade Mo Williams, who’s accounts for a majority of the Clippers’ bench points and hope that Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes can hold down the fort while the starters rest? Donald Sterling probably tighten up the purse strings making things more difficult for general manager Neil Olshey.
Despite all of these aforementioned problems, the Clippers’ biggest problem is coach Vinny Del Negro. Del Negro, who’s in the final year of his contract, isn’t doing anything at all. Del Negro is the high school teacher that’s just as excited about summer vacation as the students are. He’s just counting down the minutes until he doesn’t have to worry about creating a defensive scheme that would neutralize Kevin Love’s outside shooting. Vinny Del Negro is more of a placebo than an authority figure.
I don’t know who could replace Del Negro, but Clippers should send him off to summer vacation now before the team barely sneak into the playoffs.