Los Angeles Clippers Details
The Clippers franchise began as the Buffalo Braves in 1970. They moved to San Diego in 1978 and changed their name to the San Diego Clippers, after the speedy sailing ships that once could be found in the San Francisco Bay. The Clippers’ games in San Diego had poor attendance—they never made the playoffs, so that might have had something to do with it—and the team moved to Los Angeles for the 1984-85 season. The NBA did not authorize the move and charged Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling a hefty fine. The Clippers faced more challenges in LA, as they moved into a market already dominated by the Lakers. The Clippers and Lakers currently both play their home games at the Staples Center.
Until recently, the Clippers had very little success. Until the 2005-06 season, the franchise had appeared in the playoffs only seven times (four in Buffalo, none in San Diego, and four in LA). Though the Clippers have only once been past the second round of the playoffs, they have had some respectable seasons in the 2000s and have made the playoffs in six consecutive seasons going back to 2011-12. Last year, the Clippers finished second in the Pacific Division—behind the Warriors—but lost in the first round to the Utah Jazz.
The Clippers’ rise to respectability has coincided with the arrival of 2009 1st overall pick and former Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin. Griffin, known for his athletic dunking ability, has been a major part of the team’s regular season success. Until last season, Griffin had combined with all-star point guard Chris Paul to form the core of the team. The Clippers traded Paul to the Rockets this offseason for eight players—including Sam Dekker and Lou Williams—and a 2018 first round pick. Griffin resigned with the Clippers and it will be up to him, center DeAndre Jordan, and a lot of new faces to keep the Clippers’ playoff streak alive.