It wasn’t too long ago when the Los Angeles Clippers roster was a place where careers went to die. OK, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but players certainly weren’t going there to be relevant. It appears, with stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in town, time’s are a changing.
The Clippers added names like Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom and Grant Hill to the mix this offseason, leading Griffin to dub the Los Angeles Clippers a destination.
Blake Griffin joined Fox Sports Radio with Petros and Money to discuss his health, missing the Olympics, the Clippers as a destination team, if last season was a success, having higher expectations and the waning interest in the Slam Dunk Contest.
What’s your health status?:
“The health is great. I’ve been at 100 percent for a little bit now and I’m really geared up and ready to start training camp. … There’s not any restrictions. I’ll be going just like I would any other year.”
Was it tough to watch the Olympics after the injury kept you at home?:
“It was tough. I was really looking forward to that experience and being able to play in the Olympics. Missing out on that was tough, but at the same time, I try to look at the silver lining and realize that everything happens for a reason and try to use this time to improve on anything else I could.”
The Clippers took a step forward, making the playoffs, last season, but how excited are you for this year after this offseason?:
“Very excited. I think this summer, signing all those guys was big for us, because this became a destination. It’s not only a place where we want people to come, but guys want to come as well. That says a lot about where we are as a program.”
Where’s Chauncey Billups at in his recovery and when do you expect him back?:
“All I know is he’s ahead of schedule. He looks great; he’s been in the gym. He just goes through basketball drills and all that. I’m not really too worried about him. I know he’s going to work hard; I know he’s going to be back when he’s back, but we want him to take his time and be completely ready.”
Do you consider last season a success?:
“It absolutely was a success. We’re in the process of building this program and becoming what we want it to be. That was a step forward in the right direction, but by no means are we satisfied with that. We still have a long ways to go to be where we want to be. We can’t look at it as a failure, because it really wasn’t. But we do have to take that next step this season.”
How will you guys deal with higher expectations and how long will it take before you’re taken seriously as title contenders?:
“I think the way we feel as a team and the pieces we have, we can contend for a championship. That’s the goal this year. It’s no longer a matter of just getting to the playoffs. That’s what it should be every year and that should be understood. Now we have to take that next step to be in the Western Conference Final every year and trying to make it to the Finals.”
On the Slam Dunk Contest:
“It’s also one of those things where a lot of things that are possible have been done. There’s only a certain amount of things you can do. … Also, for a lot of guys, the All-Star weekend is kind of about getting a rest and being able to spend time with family and friends. Adding something else to All-Star weekend is the last thing guys want to do.”