Discussion in 'The Coliseum' started by ALonelyDad, Dec 2, 2020.
Post the whole thing
If lebron did any of this
Skip would have had a press conference on prime time
Divas being divas. This aint nothing new. These role players are fukkin gassed.
Hit the post and grab them rebounds or make the fukkin 3 and shut up.
No one should care how star athletes are pampered. They kinda deserve it.
Kawhi lived in San Diego?!!
He coulda stayed in Toronto
Here's the full article. I got an Athletic account
It's too long so I got to split it into parts.
Before every Clippers game last season, the team’s training staff would honor Kawhi Leonard’s request and create a private space for his pregame routine.
The staffers would enter and take over that space for roughly 20 to 45 minutes, according to multiple team and league sources. On the road, there were occasions when the space they occupied was the female staffers’ locker room. That also happened sometimes before a doubleheader at Staples Center when the changing of the court limited the availability of the Los Angeles Kings’ locker room, where Leonard normally warmed up privately.
Various Clippers players, coaches and staffers were aware of the arrangement and some felt uneasy about it. While there appeared to be no sexist intent, the visual of women staffers being unable to use their locker room to use the bathroom, to change clothes or to access their personal belongings while Leonard stretched did not go unnoticed. At least one player mentioned it to a confidant and at least one staffer complained about it to coworkers. It was an awkward arrangement, but drawing too much attention to it risked being seen as going against Leonard, the team’s unquestioned star, in the eyes of the organization.
“What were they going to do about it?” one league source said. “It’s Kawhi.”
When reached for comment by The Athletic, the Clippers denied that staffers had ever been dismissed out of a locker room space for Leonard and the training staff, adding that his stretching was scheduled on the team’s pregame itinerary and that spaces, particularly on the road, were limited and would sometimes serve multiple functions.
If there was one dynamic that showed the issues with some of the preferential treatment the Clippers conceded to Leonard and Paul George last season, and how it affected both other players and staffers, it was Leonard’s pregame privacy request. And while the locker room space situation didn’t happen in the NBA’s restart in the Orlando bubble, the chemistry issues created earlier in the season contributed to the team’s shocking loss in the Western Conference semifinals. Up 3-1, LA dropped games 5, 6 and 7 after having led the Denver Nuggets in each of them at halftime.
On and off the court, the players never established the requisite chemistry, continuity or trust to win a championship in their first year together. The organization estimated it could layer superstars on top of the core group of returning role players to win a title, but it awfully misjudged the internal blowback over everything from playing time to preferential treatment to personality differences.
“How do you ever build a strong team with that shyt going on?” one team source said. “I thought from the beginning, ‘We’re doomed. Kawhi wants too much special treatment.’”
NBA players understand that the league is a star-driven operation, and it doesn’t start or stop with Leonard and George. Every All-Star receives some form of preferential treatment, and the Clippers were no different, especially in light of the uncertainty regarding their stars’ contract status — both players can enter free agency again in 2021.
But according to multiple league sources, the perks the Clippers gave Leonard and George began to compromise the standard of the culture they had built over the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons — the very culture that the Clippers used, in part, to attract Leonard and George to Los Angeles.
Some of those perks included:
• Leonard and George were the only players to have their own personal security guards and trainers.
• Leonard and George had power over the team’s practice and travel schedule, leading teammates to believe Leonard canceled multiple practices.
• Leonard was allowed to live in San Diego and commute from there, which often made him late for team flights.
• Leonard and George typically didn’t speak to the media until at least 45 minutes after games concluded, under the guise of postgame treatment or workouts. This usually resulted in their teammates speaking with the media first, and for longer, essentially becoming the public voices of the team.
• Teammates also believed that Leonard and George were able to pick and choose when they played. Not only did they sit out games entirely, but also at times they accepted or declined playing time in the moment.
While star treatment can work in a locker room, and some of these practices aren’t necessarily unique to the Clippers, it resulted in a lack of buy-in from this particular group, league sources said.
The hard-nosed, competitive culture the team had built from 2017 to ’19, predicated on their all-for-one ethos, was undone in a matter of months, and now a challenging new season beckons, with camps opening this week and games tipping off three days before Christmas.
Following the playoff elimination by the Nuggets, which ruined a much-anticipated Lakers-Clippers conference finals, reserve guard Lou Williams, who was often the public conscience of the team to the media, offered insight into why LA flamed out.
“I think a lot of the issues that we ran into, talent bailed us out,” Williams said. “Chemistry, it didn’t. In this series, it failed us.”
Williams uttered the word “chemistry” three times postgame. Then-coach Doc Rivers cited “trust” three times. George also mentioned “chemistry,” adding that the Clippers dealt with “adversity” and “didn’t get much time to be together.”
The team’s coded language all pointed back to the same issue: The Clippers were rarely on the same page during the 2019-20 season.
Even in the aftermath of their ouster, the Clippers couldn’t agree on the context of their failed season together. George surprisingly downplayed the team’s internal ambition despite the potential two-year window he and Leonard could be in L.A.
“I think, internally, we’ve always felt, this is not a championship-or-bust year for us,” George said.
Meanwhile, Williams shared the opposing viewpoint, one that most of the Clippers felt internally: This past season was title-or-bust.
“We did have championship expectations,” Williams said. “We had the talent to do it. I don’t think we had the chemistry to do it — and it showed.”
The Clippers’ postgame comments were a microcosm of the internal disconnect that affected the team all season.
The calamitous ending was the tipping point for Rivers, along with his lack of postseason adjustments and several philosophical differences about the team’s future, which led the franchise to mutually part ways with him.
Following a two-week coaching search, the Clippers hired Tyronn Lue, an assistant on Rivers’ coaching staff, to replace his mentor on Oct. 20.
Lue enters one of the more intriguing and high-pressure situations in the league. He has a Leonard- and George-led group that will compete for a championship immediately, but there will be several lingering challenges — including implementing greater accountability in the locker room — that he and the organization need to resolve ahead of the next playoff run.
Looming over the entire situation is Leonard’s and George’s 2021 free agency.
Back in January, The Athletic chronicled the Clippers’ inner strife, including the awkward adjustment period incorporating Leonard and George and the locker room’s resentment toward their preferential treatment. The quiet personalities never fully clicked, leading to a divide between the taciturn stars and seemingly marginalized role players, league sources said.
When adversity eventually hit in the playoffs, the Clippers unraveled under the pressure.
“They didn’t have good chemistry,” one league source said. “How could they?”
Immediately, Lue and his coaching staff are facing a similar challenge to the one he overcame during his first season in Cleveland: holding his superstars accountable and settling the group of complex personalities.
One of the central issues last season was that the Clippers essentially built the core of their roster from the outside in, rather than the inside out.
The dynamic primarily affected the most prominent players from the previous season, namely Williams, Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell, multiple league sources said. Those three had enjoyed greater adulation and responsibility in the prior season and didn’t always agree with the perceived internal hierarchy.
Most championship teams have a foundational star in place for several seasons before their first title. But the 2019-20 Clippers didn’t have that piece. They attempted to defy experience and continuity through Leonard’s and George’s incredible talent and the base of the prior season’s exceptional chemistry.
It’s possible to win in Year 1 — the 2019-20 Lakers won the title with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in their first season together — but it’s historically uncommon. Unlike James, Leonard and George aren’t vocal leaders; they’re lead-by-example types.
The Clippers’ previous leadership regime — Beverley and Williams — was more vocal in nature. Beverley is a direct, if not confrontational leader, while Williams is a calming presence who picks his spots. But after being displaced within the team’s hierarchy, they weren’t as comfortable as the season before, multiple league sources said.
“Who did they look to as the guy that was going to bring them all together?” one league source said. “It can’t be the coach all the time.”
Leonard’s reticence was a tone-setter in the Clippers’ locker room.
The 2018-19 Clippers had a fun, light energy about them. The group visibly enjoyed being around one another, in part because they were a ragtag group with middling expectations.
Conversely, the 2019-20 Clippers had a much different vibe. Those around the team often categorized it as “off” or “weird.” The players didn’t joke around as much before or after games. They were far more serious — and quiet. Players, coaches and staffers became less friendly with and available to the media.
For better or worse, Leonard’s personality is enveloping, particularly as he’s grown into a superstar who doesn’t embrace the spotlight.
It presented a juggling act for Rivers, who was essentially in a lose-lose situation when it came to balancing the locker room’s personalities, egos and sensitivities. It was impossible to keep everyone content and connected.
“Pat, in particular, took the brunt of not feeling special,” one team source said.
Teammates had a level of acceptance of Leonard’s preferential treatment, as his status as a two-time champion and two-time Finals MVP — the then-reigning Finals MVP, at that — was indisputable.
But George’s treatment was more of an issue within the locker room, league sources said. George, while a perennial All-Star and All-NBA candidate, didn’t carry the same cachet with his teammates. There was a sentiment among certain teammates of, “What have you accomplished in the playoffs?” multiple league sources said.
The special treatment might have gone over better in the locker room had Leonard’s and George’s teammates felt they had a stronger relationship or bond with their superstar colleagues. Several members of the locker room felt that injuries should have allowed Leonard and George ample time to establish a better rapport with their teammates, but that never happened.
According to league sources, Leonard oftentimes was hanging out with close friend and Clippers assistant coach Jeremy Castleberry, whom Leonard has known since high school. George stuck with Reggie Jackson, one of his best friends in the league, and former Oklahoma City teammate Patrick Patterson.
The Clippers’ lack of personal connections led to communication issues in crucial moments, including, most notably, during their collapse against the Nuggets.
The players didn’t always address on-court issues or miscommunication or hold one another accountable. More often than not, the Clippers tried to sweep their issues — offensive stagnation, defensive miscommunication, inconsistent rebounding, etc. — under the rug rather than address them, league sources said.
When there was conflict, the group would typically go silent, the players retreating into their own worlds, on their phones or at their lockers. There was a discernible distance between the team, multiple league sources said.
“There was no dialogue when things weren’t good,” one league source said. “You need more than the rah-rah from Pat Beverley, every once in a while, that amps everybody up.”
Recognizing this, some players and coaches tried to improve the situation. After a rough stretch in early January, including Harrell’s eyebrow-raising comments to the media about the state of the team’s locker room, Leonard organized a series of players-only film sessions. He also worked out with Beverley and George during the hiatus after the league shut down because of the coronavirus.
But there wasn’t consistency behind his actions with teammates, multiple league sources said. He didn’t talk up his teammates publicly the way other stars do, or even behind the scenes. Leonard’s leadership progressed throughout the season, but it never reached the level it needed to foster a championship culture.
Rivers would frequently step in, at practices and in the locker room during games, initiating difficult conversations from which the group often refrained. But his voice stopped carrying the same weight, eventually. Overall, he wasn’t able to fully hold his players or coaching staff accountable, multiple league sources said.
Marcus Morris Sr., whom the Clippers acquired at the February 2020 trade deadline, entered the locker room with the intent of asserting himself as a leader after pacing the New York Knicks in scoring. He quickly became one of the team’s louder voices.
While league sources say Morris had good intentions with teammates, and was trying to step into the clear leadership void that he had observed when he joined the team, Morris’ advice for his new teammates didn’t always go over well.
“You don’t want to be the guy that just shows up and starts telling people what to do,” one league source said.
If this was Bron......
Pegleg lookin real funny in the light. Uncle Dennis done turned this nikka into a superdiva. @TradePascalSiakam
@CantStop @Lakerman0834 @Sccit @2Quik4UHoes @Flex Luger @ALonelyDad @Voice of Reason @Sinnerman @Hater @Dr. Narcisse @G-Zeus @Malik1time @Cladyclad @ajnapoleon @threattonature
According to league sources, center Ivica Zubac and Morris had several heated arguments early in Morris’ tenure, with Zubac essentially saying, “Why are you telling me to change what I’m doing after I’ve been doing it successfully all season?”
The ongoing adjustment and power dynamic between the stars and the role players prevented other Clippers from stepping up, creating a vacuum that was never filled — one that played a part in the team’s eventual collapse.
“If you were to ask all 15 players individually who the leader was, you’d get a lot of different answers,” one league source said.
The Clippers’ issue was often not what was said, but rather what wasn’t. That dynamic, coupled with the team’s injuries and lack of practice time due to the schedule and Rivers’ coaching style, led to a lack of continuity ahead of the NBA’s bubble restart in Orlando in July.
Before the hiatus, the Clippers were playing their best basketball of the season. They went 7-2 out of the All-Star break, including a six-game win streak. After an inconsistent and injury-riddled season, they were healthy and jelling heading toward the playoffs.
But then the COVID-19 pandemic spread and the NBA shut down. The Clippers’ momentum was halted. The organization tried to remain proactive, sending personalized workout equipment to each player’s home. They coined the phrase “win the wait” and held multiple weekly workouts over Zoom. Leonard trained with George and Beverley in San Diego and Los Angeles.
As basketball’s return neared, it appeared the team would finally be whole. But the Orlando bubble was the perfect confluence of issues for the Clippers. They dealt with injuries and absences at inopportune times, and never rediscovered their rhythm.
Zubac and Landry Shamet tested positive for COVID-19. Morris Sr. and JaMychal Green arrived late for personal reasons. Harrell, Beverley and Williams each left the bubble due to the deaths of loved ones. Harrell missed a month. Williams attended the funeral of a family friend, stopping by the Magic City strip club for its famous chicken wings, only to be photographed and outed on social media by rapper Jack Harlow, leading to Williams being forced to quarantine for 10 days.
Once in the bubble, Beverley dealt with a strained left calf that caused him to miss five seeding games and five playoff games. George acknowledged dealing with anxiety and depression, which especially affected him in the Dallas series. Harrell was never again himself, looking physically compromised and less explosive as his numbers declined and the Clippers were outscored badly with him on the floor.
The constant turnover meant the Clippers never knew who was going to be available. While other teams were picking up from before the break, the Clippers were playing lineups and rotations they weren’t going to use in the postseason, all while some of their players struggled to regain their pre-hiatus form.
The bubble forced Clippers players to spend more time with one another, given their proximity and lack of alternative options to spend their time. Until Aug. 31, players didn’t have family or guests in the bubble. The Clippers were attempting to play catch-up chemistry-wise, and, at that point, they were too far behind other teams, league sources said.
But the same issues that the Clippers faced in the regular season transferred over to the bubble. Another point of contention was that certain players felt teammates were looking out for their contracts more than the team, league sources said. Earlier in the season, teammates had felt Harrell was looking out for his numbers because he was a pending free agent, and that belief continued into the bubble.
With higher stakes and pressure, there were several blow-ups between players, with George often at the center of the tension, with teammates citing a lack of accountability from him.
In the first-round series versus Dallas, Williams and George exchanged expletives amid a heated disagreement about accountability, league sources said. In the Denver series, George and Harrell got into a verbal spat during a timeout in Game 2, as Yahoo Sports first reported.
George’s comments to the media about the team still being in the “driver’s seat” after losing Game 6 to Denver didn’t go over well with his teammates, league sources said. It was made worse by George and Jackson openly sulking together in the locker room over their poor performances, which rubbed some teammates the wrong way throughout the playoffs.
During Game 7, several players felt George (10 points on 4-of-16 shooting, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in 38 minutes) didn’t play with the type of effort or sense of urgency that matched his public comments.
“It looked like he was coasting the entire game,” one league source said. “He looked like he was floating.”
Afterward, his impassioned speech to his teammates about bouncing back and returning next season rang hollow, as The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Sept. 21.
Rivers also failed to make proper adjustments, including playing Harrell fewer minutes and going with smaller, better-spaced lineups. His inability to counter in a timely manner in both the Dallas and Denver series was a significant factor in the Clippers demise.
The team’s Game 7 blowout loss confirmed to some around the Clippers that there was a front-runner quality to the team, in that they could trash-talk and jeer when they were ahead — like when Damian Lillard missed two free throws in a seeding game to cost the Trail Blazers — but that the team was hanging by a thread when it was behind, ready to crumble.
The Clippers hired Lue, in part, because of his ability to hold star players accountable. In Cleveland, he got their star triumvirate to buy into his messaging from Day 1. That entailed challenging James from the outset, as well as establishing a clear pecking order with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love behind James.
In Los Angeles, Lue will look to push Leonard and George to forgo certain requests or standards to set a better example for their teammates, league sources said. Additionally, he’ll establish a clearer internal hierarchy with the remaining role players, ensuring that players are on the same page and there is no confusion regarding roles and responsibilities. This is Leonard’s team, and Lue is going to let the locker room know that.
At his introductory press conference in mid-October, Lue was grilled about the team’s chemistry and continuity concerns. He chalked up the issues as more due to circumstance — health, the bubble and several personal tragedies — than the team actually not getting along.
“I think we’re talking about chemistry and continuity, and it’s not more so off the court and guys not liking each other,” Lue said. “… When we talk about chemistry and continuity, it’s more so on the basketball court of just being familiar with guys and how guys like to receive the ball or where this guy is going to be on the floor. … I think that comes from being healthy and not having as many injuries.”
There is an element of truth to Lue’s sentiment.
Leonard and George only played together in 37 of the 72 regular-season games (51.4 percent of games), preventing the Clippers from gaining the reps they needed between their two best players. LA only had its top 10 rotation players healthy for 11 games. The Clippers tied the Warriors for the most starting lineups used, and were second behind the Bucks in total lineups used more than once.
Leonard and George were understandably focused on maintaining their health, with an eye toward a deep postseason run. But grinders like Williams, Harrell, Beverley and Green were focused on the present — playing hard every day, no matter the circumstance. There was a clear contrast between the approaches, league sources said.
In addition, some players grappled with their change in identity, as multiple players acknowledged to The Athletic throughout the season. They weren’t used to being the hunted instead of the hunters. The isolation nature of the new offense, particularly when Leonard was on the floor, also led to a diminished sense of joy with the team’s playing style.
“You’ve got a lot of parts,” Williams said after Game 7. “You go from last year, we were the team that wasn’t expected to make the playoffs, to going and being a championship-caliber team when you bring in two high-level guys. That’s an adjustment.
“Trez and I, we had to adjust our games. I think everybody had to sacrifice and put themselves in a different position and that type of thing takes time, especially when you’re doing it for years at a time.”
The Clippers’ free agency showed that the team and its players had some irreconcilable differences. The Clippers re-signed Morris, Jackson and Patterson, but watched as Harrell and Green — two key members of the 2018-19 and 2019-20 teams — left for contract dollars that the Clippers could have matched or surpassed.
The Clippers rebounded by signing Serge Ibaka, whose 3-and-D skill set, championship experience and public friendship with Leonard are positive additions to the locker room. His affable personality should serve as a connecting force between players. Aside from Ibaka’s arguably superior fit on the court, mixing up the team’s locker room dynamic could prove to be the change the Clippers need. LA also traded for Luke Kennard and signed Nicolas Batum to bolster the bench.
Moreover, the Clippers are planning to make several notable adjustments under Lue this season, prioritizing modern principles like pace, spacing, shooting and small ball more than they did under Rivers. Based on his teams’ rate of improvement in Cleveland, Lue has the potential to unlock the best version of the Clippers on both ends. He’s already discussed playing with more ball movement, which would likely translate to an offense in which players feel more important and involved.
Clipper players are excited to play for Lue, league sources said. The team is well aware that iso-ball won’t work this season. This season’s squad should be able to build continuity off of last season, with midseason newcomers like Morris and Jackson able to participate in training camp. The Clippers will also have Leonard and George available in training camp after missing some (Leonard) or all of it (George) last season.
Lue’s additions to his coaching staff — Dan Craig, Kenny Atkinson, Chauncey Billups, Roy Rogers and Larry Drew II — are well-regarded around the league for a wide range of skills, including player development. The Clippers are confident that their offseason personnel changes, coupled with Lue’s strengths as a tactician and locker-room leader, will be the solution to most of their issues from last season, league sources said.
As the Clippers begin the second year of the Leonard-George partnership, the burden is on Lue, the front office and ownership to figure out how to maximize the pairing. After last season’s embarrassing ending, that task includes continuing to evaluate and determine which players fit around Leonard and George, both on and off the court.
The pressure is on for LA to learn from last season’s cultural mistakes. The onus is also on Leonard and George to take greater accountability and establish a healthier locker room dynamic this season, which league sources say the duo is aware of. The 2021 free-agency period is looming.
Perhaps there will be fewer examples of preferential treatment this season, be it the team revising its approach or the superstars re-evaluating the method’s effectiveness. Or perhaps nothing will change on that front and this season’s role players will simply be more accepting of their limitations and responsibilities, meshing better with their superstar counterparts.
The Clippers had as much, if not more talent than any other team in the NBA last season. But the ingredients never quite mixed right.
Ultimately, the first season of this chemistry experiment failed. Now it’s back to the lab.
He think they babied Kawhi he's going to hate playing for the Lakers and he need to stop being a
how do you know he doesnt. If you think lebron doesnt get special treatment in every facet of his existence, then you are naive.
Star players playing for a trash ass organization, that’s what happens.
Seems he is trying to hide more than being diva...
Maybe he doesnt want people to know the extent of his injury
Thats too great an effort to be private
peg leg still being a selfish azz fakkit