It's time to give a salute to the Los Angeles Clippers. Wow, I can't believe I'm saluting the Clippers, baby, after all the problems the franchise has gone through over the years.
Why the salute now? The Clippers made a great move in acquiring point guard Andre Miller from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Clippers last won a playoff series in 1975-76, when the franchise was located in Buffalo. Over the years, owner Donald Sterling and executive Elgin Baylor have taken their lumps. The criticism has been deserved -- hey, they haven't given Billy Crystal much to cheer about! But now there's some excitement in Los Angeles, and it isn't just about the Lakers, baby!
The Clippers have some young, talented baseline players. With Elton Brand up front, the versatility of Lamar Odom and the scoring ability of Quentin Richardson, you can see why they were willing to part with Darius Miles in the Miller deal. Miles has tremendous upside and outstanding potential. But to get a blue-chip talent like Andre Miller, you have to give up a lot.
Miller can dish the rock with the best of them -- he led the NBA in assists last season (10.9 per game). In a league that includes Jason Kidd (9.9) and Gary Payton (9.0), that's an impressive achievement. Miller will be a big part of the Clippers' attempt to make the playoffs in 2002-03. Remember, they fell just short a year ago in the wild, wild West.
This should be the year the Clippers break through. Close doesn't count when you share a building with the best of the best, the Rolls Royce team of the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers. The entertainment dollar can only go so far, and the Clippers have to post some Ws. Getting Miller is a big, big plus.
Kudos to NBA for Instant-Replay Decision
Here's another salute to the NBA for its decision to use instant replay. Referees will review videotape to help determine if a buzzer-beating shot is good at the end of a quarter or the end of the game.
There was so much controversy last season, especially in the playoffs. Charlotte's Baron Davis hit a shot in the Hornets-Magic series that looked good on repays but wasn't allowed. And Reggie Miller hit a shot that forced overtime in the deciding game of the Nets-Pacers series that should not have been allowed based on replays. In each case, the NBA was fortunate things worked out the right way, because it could have been an absolute nightmare.
The league made a good decision moving forward. With all the technology available, it only makes sense to get the calls right.