During the Chris Paul-Blake Griffin era, the Los Angeles Clippers were always one of the best teams in the NBA during the regular season and looked primed to contend for a championship year after year.
The Clippers, however, never made it past the second round of the playoffs and often got in their own way with collapses and mental mistakes.
Matt Barnes, who was on many of those Clipper teams, says the club just had too many egos in one locker room to be successful.
“We really had one of the most talented teams that never won a championship in LA and I think it was our own fault,” Barnes said on the Lunchtime with Roggin and Rodney show on AM 570 LA Sports. “We were in our own way. Just too many egos, young acting. We thought we were going to be the Warriors right up until they won the championship. We knocked them out of the playoffs the year before they came back and won, so we had a very talented team. We just couldn’t get on the same page. It was crazy. We were all cool off the court and I was like, ‘how are we cool off the court and can’t get it together on the court?’
“Egos. Egos. And now looking back on it from my perspective, because I was fortunate enough to go to the Warriors with a whole handful of superstars and there was no egos. Everyone left their ego at the door, the only thing that mattered in Golden State was to win and winning the championship. If we had that mentality with the Clippers, we would have won a championship.”
Griffin and Paul were believed to have a tense relationship behind closed doors, while Paul’s bond with head coach Doc Rivers began to deteriorate after Rivers decided not to trade for New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony in a deal that would have included Rivers’ son, Austin Rivers.
This upcoming season will be the first year since 2011 that the Clippers won’t have Paul, Griffin or DeAndre Jordan on the team. Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets last summer, Griffin was sent to the Detroit Pistons at the 2018 February trade deadline and Jordan signed with the Dallas Mavericks this offseason in free agency.