For a good four-year stretch from 2013-14 through 2016-17, the Los Angeles Clippers were the talk of the town.
Kobe Bryant was nearing the end of his illustrious career and the Lakers were no longer the dominant force they once were.
Instead, “Lob City” was taking over the city of angels.
Lob City appreciation tweet🔥 pic.twitter.com/MpdnBUYTtQ
— The Last Shot NBA 🏀 (@TheLastShotNBA) September 13, 2021
Clippers fans were finally enjoying some limelight after being overshadowed by their big brother all these years.
Sadly, they never advanced past the second round of the playoffs.
The rise of “Lob City” happened coincidentally with the rise of Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
A dynasty that would make five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals starting in 2014-15.
Eventually, “Lob City” was broken up.
There was allegedly a power dynamic that led to an awkward relationship between Paul and Griffin.
All the infighting led to Paul being traded to Houston in 2017, followed by Griffin being dealt to Detroit in 2018.
Fast forward to the 2021-22 season upcoming, and all three major pieces from “Lob City” are now on title contenders.
A tough sight for Clippers fans.
Chris Paul Leading The Suns
Of the “Lob City” big three, CP3 is the only one still playing a starring role for his new team.
It turned out that the “Point God” was just the piece Phoenix was missing.
Paired with young star Devin Booker, Paul averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists per game while leading the Suns to their first playoff appearance in a decade.
It also turned out the Suns were just the team CP3 was missing.
After a playoff career filled with early exits and heartbreak, Paul got the monkey off his back and appeared in his first NBA Finals.
CHRIS PAUL SCORES 41 POINTS TO LEAD THE SUNS TO THE FINALS 🔥
FIRST CAREER FINALS APPEARANCE 🚨 pic.twitter.com/BIwo2CCXMg
— Overtime (@overtime) July 1, 2021
And the Suns appear to be set up for another strong year.
Paul was brought back on a multi-year extension as was key role player Cameron Payne.
Phoenix did not add much to the equation but brought back the core of the roster that reached the Finals last season.
The Suns are ready to run it back in 2021-22.
‘Lob City’ Originator Griffin A Key Cog On A Super Team
Griffin got the short end of the stick amongst the Clippers’ Big Three.
When he was set to become a free agent after the 2017 season, the Clippers pulled out all the stops to bring him back.
When he arrived at the Staples Center on July 1, they had set up a maze that took Griffin through different pictures each showing a memory from his life.
It ended with Griffin walking out onto center court at the Staples Center.
There they held a mock jersey retirement with Blake’s No. 32 being hoisted into the rafters – a Clipper for life.
Never forget when the Clippers promised Blake Griffin he’d be a “Clipper for Life” and raised his jersey to the rafters during their free-agency pitch … then trade him to the Pistons six months later. pic.twitter.com/84t96No6A2
— Ballrsnation 🏀 (@ballrsnation) July 26, 2020
But then Los Angeles turned around and shipped him to Detroit for a package centered around Tobias Harris and picks.
The “Clipper for Life” turned into a “Clipper for a few more months”.
He continued to deal with injuries with the Pistons but had one All-Star season and reinvented his game.
Once a high-flyer, Griffin expanded his shooting range and playmaking abilities to account for his diminished athleticism.
The Pistons finally bought him out midway through last season and he signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
Griffin originally came off the bench but was the starting center in the playoffs.
He provided solid minutes and was the primary defender against Giannis in the second round.
Yeah he got his individually, but the bucks flow on offense did not look against BJN as crisp as the way it did in this first half. Part of that is how defensive juggernaut Blake Griffin played Giannis. https://t.co/lVh2N4P8Sm
— Wosny Lambre (@BigWos) June 24, 2021
While he did not eliminate the two-time MVP, he made him earn everything and worked hard.
The Nets re-signed Griffin this offseason and he projects to retain his starting center role this year.
Perhaps these two end up facing up in the Finals after years of trying to reach one together.
Jordan Ring-Chasing With Veterans
Jordan has the lesser role to play of the original “Lob City” trio for the upcoming season.
But will still be on a title contender with the Lakers.
Jordan signed with the Nets along with Durant and Irving during the 2019 offseason.
He was the backup to Jarrett Allen at the center position.
Jordan would become the starter last season after Allen was included in the Harden trade.
However, Jordan would go on to lose his starting spot after Griffin was brought in and would lose his minutes altogether come playoff time.
With Griffin penciled in as the starter on the Nets and Nicolas Claxton in line to be the backup, Jordan was traded to the Pistons.
Detroit then bought out his contract and he was free to sign with whomever he wanted.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) September 9, 2021
Jordan should fill a role similar to what JaVale McGee played for the Lakers two years ago.
While minutes should not be a problem in the regular season, it remains to be seen how much playing time Jordan will get in the playoffs.
The Lakers are undoubtedly at their best with Anthony Davis at the center position.
And regardless of how much Davis prefers to play at power forward, he will see minutes at center come the postseason.
Between Davis and Howard, there may not be much playing time for Jordan.
But if a ring awaits him at the end, DeAndre won’t mind how much court time he gets.