It’s Time for Los Angeles Lakers to Follow Clippers’ Blueprint

You could write a Harry Potter-sized novel with all the developments from Friday night's embarrassing 123-87 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers that the Los Angeles Lakers would like to forget. There were the season-high 70 points allowed in the first half, the season-low eight points scored in the third quarter, the 21 turnovers that yielded 37 points for the Clippers and the 36-point margin of defeat that was the worst ever for the Lakers in this lopsided rivalry.

But if there's any greater warning the Lakers should heed from this defeat, it's the value of grooming their own superstar.

Lakers fans can coo all they want about how the Clippers wouldn't be the class of L.A. right now if not for NBA commissioner David Stern's "basketball reasons" for nixing one Chris Paul trade and greenlighting another in December of 2011. CP3 may well have become the sort of backcourt support that Kobe Bryant so desperately needed at the time, and that might have allowed the Black Mamba to take a breather once in a while as opposed to exerting himself to the point of a devastating injury.

However, Paul, who missed his fourth straight game with a separated shoulder, wasn't the catalyst behind the current Clippers renaissance. Rather, that mantle belongs to Blake Griffin, who's establishing himself as something much more substantial than "just" a human highlight reel this season.

It was Griffin whose emergence as an All-Star, a Slam Dunk champion and the league's Rookie of the Year in 2010-11 made the Clips an appealing destination for CP3. Together, they've given the Clippers a two-man foundation that should allow the NBA's longtime laughingstock to cement a more permanent and prominent place in the heart of a Purple and Gold stronghold.

Apart from Paul, Griffin has shown that he can be the foundation of a championship-contending franchise for years to come, even after CP3's prime has come and gone. The high-...

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