The individual(s) running the Twitter account for NBA on ESPN got taken to task by Los Angeles Clippers fans this week after a curious and bizarrely ill-informed Tweet.
Sparked by the Clippers’ re-signing of veteran big man DeMarcus Cousins, NBA on ESPN posed the question: “With Cousins signed for the rest of the season, can the Clips make it out of the West?” The question was coupled with a “core roster” photo collage that included images of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, of course, along with injured starters Serge Ibaka and Patrick Beverley. Rajon Rondo and Cousins were also pictured, but it was who wasn’t pictured that drew the ire of Clipper Nation.
Fans Miffed By Exclusion of Ivica Zubac, Nic Batum, Among Others
Ty Lue’s squad has been dealing with myriad injuries of late, and his roster has seen its fair share of changes over the last month and a half, the primary of which has been more playing time for Ivica Zubac, who has been filling in — and filling in capably — for an injured Ibaka.
Over his last 10 games, Zubac has played an average of 25.9 minutes, averaging 11.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per contest in relief of Ibaka. The 24-year-old has played so well, in fact, Lue noted he may take Ibaka’s spot in the starting lineup.
Clips fans have clearly been impressed with Zubac, and they gently (and sometimes not so gently) reminded ESPN that their favorite team has a far stronger core than the group that was pictured, particularly considering other key members of the team, including starting forward Marcus Morris Sr., were also omitted. And while they love the addition of Boogie, they also noted he may not be as integral a player as others on the team:
Marcus Morris, Nic Batum, Ivicia Zubac
Looking like… pic.twitter.com/275nhS1Qyy
— Bleek Griffin (@T_bleek) April 26, 2021
Mook has been our third best player this season.
Y’all really don’t watch games smh
— 𝕙𝕦𝕤𝕤𝕝𝕖𝕧 🦜 (@husslev) April 26, 2021
Morris Zubac Mann Batum and Reggie are more important to the team than DMC
— Killian (@KillianSSJ) April 26, 2021
Don’t forget about Marcus Morris, Nic Batum, Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard and Ivica Zubac. This team is deep
— horrible ball talk (@DJBuckets4) April 26, 2021
Fixed it pic.twitter.com/QBMHc35Sbu
— ClipCast The Best Clippers Podcast (@LACLIPCAST) April 27, 2021
Boogie is no where near the core of the roster. Do better pic.twitter.com/PNMO5nl5Gn
— Vic Damone Jr. (@ClippersMagic05) April 26, 2021
Cousins not playing over Zu and Serge lol what is this https://t.co/5giAYkbEIi
— Jarrod (@jarrodyoung23) April 27, 2021
Reggie Jackson, Iviva Zubac, Marcus Morris and Luke Kennard are much more included into the core than DeMArcus Cousins lmfao https://t.co/eahsdtJfZS
— Filip Dimitrovski (@FilipmyCup) April 27, 2021
Others pointed out that when Ibaka is healthy, both he and Zubac should be the top two big men on L.A.’s roster.
Y’all put Boogie over two starters and Reggie and Batum. Watch a single Clipper game I dare you
— ClipVibes (@clipvibes21) April 26, 2021
Have you watched a single game? If Ibaka is healthy, it’s Zu and Ibaka. Cousins might get time in the playoffs against specific teams’ big men. Also, so many key players you’re leaving off this list who have stepped out in the absence of Pat Bev.
— Tom Szymanski (@YesTomSzymanski) April 26, 2021
Clippers Have Impressive Array of Talent Right Now
Clipper Nation had good reason to be upset about and call out ESPN’s Tweet because of the glaring omissions, but those paying close attention to the Clips know how well the team has been gelling of late, and what a positive impact Zubac has been on both offense and defense.
“This team has so much potential man,” Cousins said after inking a deal to remain with the Clippers for the remainder of the season and into the postseason. “I’m extremely excited to be a part of this organization and team.”
“It’s a joy to come to work every day,” Cousins added. “Super chill environment. Everyone comes in and works their tail off. Always a good mood in the locker room. It’s crazy that it’s to the point where every single person in our building gets along. You can go hold a conversation with the team chef, the team masseuse, whatever the case may be.”
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