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Gastelum: Don’t get sick with Lob City Disorder (Jan. 26)

Andrew Gastelum | Thursday, January 26, 2012

If Albert Pujols went to the Mets, would that make the Mets automatically better than the Yankees?

If the answer is yes, you must be a Mets fan. Or a Clippers fan.

This is the first step to curing a terrible epidemic spreading across the nation, mostly through the almighty Bill Simmons (who lives in L.A. and is a Celtics fan) and Laker-haters everywhere. It’s called LCD, also known as Lob City Disorder. It falls somewhere between scurvy and irritable bowel syndrome and should be taken seriously at all times.

LCD is one of those infamous diseases that catch the country by storm, following in the footsteps of Tebowitis B and preceding Ricky Rheubiotism — apparently spreading like the plague in the land of 1,000 lakes.

Lob City Disorder attacks the brain, instantly creating an aversion to the colors purple and gold. It makes you think grandiose thoughts such as, “The Clippers are the best team in Los Angeles” and “Donald Sterling is such a great owner” when in fact you should be asking yourself: “Why do our best players have two first names (Blake Griffin and Chris Paul)?” and “Why does our point guard have an uncanny resemblance to Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?” and “How many rings have we won?”

And the last question is critical to this national discussion.

The Clippers added one All-Star player to their roster, and now they are bigger than the façade of the Hotel Figueroa that stands in front of the Staples Center.

The Lakers have five rings from seven NBA Finals attempts in the last decade. The Clippers have zero. And in the near future, do we honestly see the Clippers winning a championship? Can the addition of Chris Paul (coupled with the shipment of a young core of solid role players to New Orleans) really make this team a compelling and viable threat out of the West?

First, this team with no playoff experience would have to get by the defending-champion Mavericks and probably the heavily favored Thunder (not to mention the Lakers or Spurs) before having a shot at the insanely talented Heat or unusually deep Bulls. All of these would have to be accomplished in multiple seven-game series with each of these hungry, veteran-savvy teams, whereas the only player with legitimate playoff experience in Lob City is a born-again shooting guard by the name of Chauncey Billups.

I’m not saying the Clippers aren’t better than the Lakers right now, but people are treating them as though they have the same pedigree and the same insatiable expectations solely earned by the Lakers.

Chris Paul is only one player. Period. They need more around him and he is only guaranteeing the Clippers two NBA-shortened seasons to do it. And those who know Donald Sterling know it will be tough to actually think he will splurge for Dwight Howard or even O.J. “Da Juiceman” Mayo. If the fantasy-owners dream (LeBron) couldn’t do it like this, how will Chris Paul be able to? Sure he has Blake Griffin, but after that where is the depth, the youth, the spark?

And what happens when the rapid-fire season takes a toll on Paul, as it is already starting to do? It then becomes Blake Griffin and last year’s same-old Clippers without Eric Gordon and Chris “the Caveman” Kaman.

It’s pretty sad, looking at the Clippers crowd. Most are there to see the opposing team (this writer is guilty) and some are there to see Chris Paul throw half-court lobs to Blake Griffin. They aren’t there to see the Clippers, who actually play an aesthetically pleasing game of basketball. Don’t believe me? Count the number of Eric Gordon jerseys — or Clippers jerseys at all, for that matter — in the crowd.

And even if the Clippers beat the Lakers in the next 100 meetings, they will still not be L.A’s team and develop the rivalry they hope it can become. Until the fans change — which won’t happen — it will continue to be the way it has always been. It takes decades to build prestige, not a trade.

CP3 to Blake Griffin is a beautiful way to fill the Top 10 on SportsCenter, but will it fill the trophy case?

Chris Paul just bought Avril Lavigne’s Bel Air mansion so he will probably be in L.A. for a while. But he might switch to the gold team across the hall at Staples Center to go after that gold in 2013.

Just a spoonful of reality helps the medicine go down.

Contact Andrew Gastelum at agastel1@nd.edu

The views expressed in this Sports Authority column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer