It’s been 6 years since the thunderous jams and incredible alley-oops had every fan in awe at (what was then) Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The three-headed monster in Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, and Blake Griffin had Clipper fans anxiously anticipating a SportsCenter Top 10 play on a regular Tuesday night. Even as a fan, when you stepped into the arena and got a glimpse of the cursive Clipper logo at center court, you could feel the aura. Excitement was inevitable. This era of the LA Clippers unfortunately came to an end without bearing any postseason fruit. Whether it was injuries or inauspicious scoring droughts, the Lob City Clips just couldn’t get over the hump no matter how hard they tried. Chris Paul was later traded to the Rockets, Blake Griffin to the Pistons , and Jordan to the Mavericks. Lob City was over.
The next era in the Clippers’ short history was the 213 era. With the signing of Kawhi Leonard and acquisition of Paul George, the Clippers immediately regained championship aspirations. Having just finished year 4 of this era, the Clippers have still yet to bear any postseason fruit. However, this time they finally got over the hump and made it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history back in the ’21 playoffs. Almost identical to Lob City, the 213 era can be best identified by a terribly unfortunate amount of injuries as well as many inauspicious scoring droughts.
Looking at the current roster heading into the ’23-24 season, there are a lot of well-established veterans on the team. These guys have been in the limelight for a while and are ready for the moment. Unfortunately, it’s a double edged sword. While the majority of the Clipper roster is very experienced and very talented, they are old. The LA Clippers are easily one of the oldest teams in the league and with age comes a lack of athleticism, a lack of energy, and a lack of pop. From an objective perspective, this is one of the greatest weaknesses that the team has without a doubt. Other than Terance Mann (26) and Bones Hyland (22), the Clips have no youth who play meaningful minutes. Luckily, the Clippers front office came to this realization as well and on July 1st, the Clippers traded 2 future 2nd round draft picks for high-flying young Rockets forward KJ Martin, son of Kenyon Martin.
KJ Martin, who is only 22 years old, is a 6’6″ forward who plays with an energy and sense of urgency that perfectly fits the void that the Clippers had in those areas. After watching just 30 seconds of KJ Martin highlight clips from the last season, you’d think that he had beef with the rim the way he ferociously dunks almost every shot. He has unreal athleticism that aids him on both sides of the ball and makes his 6’6″ frame feel more like a 6’10” stature. He is an incredible lob threat that provides a new dynamic edge to this team that I fully believe will take them much farther not just in the playoffs, but the regular season too when the veterans are injured or resting. Add this to the fact that there have been many rumors of James Harden expected to be traded to the Clips and Lob City 2.0 might be back in business. The best part is that KJ is wearing number 6 for the Clippers. The last Clipper to wear #6? DeAndre Jordan. I think it’s safe to say the Lob City Clips are back.