Warriors vs Clippers Pregame Q&A with Robert Flom of 213 Hoops
Two blog boys discuss the move away from SB Nation, and an evolving matchup between the Clippers and Warriors
Duby: Thanks for taking the time to do this! Before we hop into the game coverage, care to plug your new site?
Robert Flom:Hey man! Thanks for setting this up! And sure - myself and the rest of the former Clips Nation crew have set up a new Clippers site, 213Hoops, which is free of the corporate limitations of Vox Media and SB Nation. We pay all of our contributors, we don’t have post quotas, and it’s been a great first month. How’s your new site going?
Duby: I’ll have to talk to you offline about all the logistical decisions you’ve made over there. I love the clean look of your site - it seems like something both of our groups prioritized and something that the communities have embraced. Mostly though, it just feels great to have pulled off something that works for most of our readers - and extra heart warming to see your group (and the Kings blog) successfully pull away from Vox and SB Nation.
Duby: One of the parallels I see this season with the Clippers and Warriors (last year) is that there’s been a lot of questions about the team’s regular performance… which all seems to ignore the injuries the team is fighting through. How is the team playing now?
Flom: You’re spot on. One of the odd things about this Clippers team is that they’ve played much like a team in the latter years of a dynasty (last year’s Warriors is a great comp) that can cruise through the regular season and then rev up for the playoffs. They’ve failed to show up for early Sunday games, laid down at odd times against mediocre teams, and fallen apart defensively on numerous occasions. All that said, none of that ever felt like a true problem with the team - it’s just been a matter of coasting and injuries. Paul George has missed much of the season, Pat Beverley has been banged up, and other guys like Landry Shamet have been injured as well.
Now that the team is healthy, and additions have been brought in, and the playoffs are in sight, those issues have fallen away. The Clippers are playing hard, they’re playing with tight execution, and they look good. The Clippers have beaten the Nuggets, Thunder, and Rockets consecutively, have done so handily, and are ready for more.
Duby: Does this team feel like a champion to you right now, or are there some major areas to fix?
Flom: They feel like they could be a champion. There are too many other great teams in the NBA this year (notably the Bucks, and the Lakers to a lesser extent) to pencil in the Clippers for the championship (or even Finals) like the Warriors of the last half-decade, but they’re right in there. There are still weaknesses - stagnant offense, somewhat limited playmaking - but every single NBA team in history has weaknesses. Some of the ball-handling deficiency has been remedied by Reggie Jackson, and the big man depth will be strengthened by Joakim Noah; both of those areas were probably the two biggest weaknesses early in the season. Shot creation and defense are huge strengths, and those are usually two of the biggest necessities for a title team. Championship lock? Certainly not. Championship contender? Absolutely. What do you think about the Clippers title odds?