Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cloud Over Clippers

There's tension in the locker room of the LA Clippers, courtesy of disgruntled point guard Mo Williams. He was once a crucial Clipper, but that was B.C., before Chris--Chris Paul, that is.

Since the celebrated trade that brought in Paul from New Orleans, Williams has been shoved into the background. According to inside sources, he's so unhappy about being a second-class Clipper that his misery is spilling out into the locker room and is threatening to become toxic. With Paul joining superstar Blake Grifffin as the faces of the franchise, Williams has been grappling with a grim reality. As long as Paul is on the roster, Williams will never be one of the premium Clippers.

Keep your eye on Williams before and during games and you'll see he's not getting along with his teammates.
However, it's not likely the team will trade him, though they do need a backup center and Williams is attractive trade bait. The Clippers really do need him. With Chauncey Billups nursing a groin pull, Williams has been starting in his place at shooting guard, next to Paul. If Billups' injury continues to be a problem--and it may--Williams may get enough minutes to keep a lid on his anger.

The Clippers, though, have bigger worries than Williams. After all that pre-season hype, they're off to a 1-2 start because they're one of the worst defensive teams in the league. On the offensive side, they've got plenty of flash and swagger, with all those eye-popping dunks. But their rebounding is terrible and so is their interior defense. That's why, in points-per-game-allowed, the Clippers are in the NBA cellar. They simply can't win games that way.

Yes, the Clippers have to make sure Williams' sour attitude doesn't poison the team. More important, though, is fixing that awful defense.