I had a great opportunity to chat with fellow Clipper blogger Robert Flom from SB Nations Clips Nation blog. I have been a fan of Robert’s work and was happy he participated in a Q&A about the Clippers. Robert spoke about getting involved with SB Nation, what he’s learned about writing since then, and much more.
What made you want to get into writing?
I have always enjoyed writing, going all the way back to elementary school. I love to talk, and writing is essentially like talking to the page (and any audience, obviously).
How did you become a Clippers fan, growing up in a town where Lakers were dominating and winning championships?
I became a Clippers fan sometime in my early high school years. I had always been an NBA fan, but had never strongly identified with one team. The Lakers were probably the team that I followed the most as a kid, but I didn’t really like them, and their fans are among the most frustrating on the planet. I generally support all Los Angeles based teams, so I had kept up with the Clippers as well, and started getting more into them when they brought over Baron Davis, one of my favorite NBA players at the time. Then they drafted Blake Griffin, I found Clips Nation, and it was history.
How did you get your start writing for SB Nation?
I started writing for Clips Nation over a year and a half ago. I had been a member and frequent commenter for several years by now, and was particularly active on the game threads.The semi-legendary Steve Perrin, the founder of Clips Nation, was starting to expand the site and needed writers. I asked him if I could write for the site and he said yes. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity he gave to me (and to Lucas Hann for continuing to let me write for the site), as it has been an incredible experience.
What’s the best part of writing for SB Nation and the Clips Nation blog in particular?
The best part about writing for SB and Clips Nation is that the audience is really there. I get a fair amount of comments on most of my articles (especially the meatier ones), and they are usually very helpful and engaging. The Clips Nation community has some of the smartest basketball people you will ever run into, and their constant feedback has made me a better writer and more knowledgeable fan and critic of the game. The interactions I have with my readers are probably my favorite part of the writing experience for Clips Nation. Another great element is talking to all the other writers and members of the staff. They provide perspectives and points of view I would never have considered, and interacting with them on Twitter has truly turned some of them into friends.
What have you learned about your writing and blogging since you started writing for Clips Nation?
The thing I have learned the most about my writing is that I still have a lot to learn. It’s trite but true. Sometimes I put up a piece I am particularly proud of only to find that someone had an insight that I didn’t consider, or spotted an error in logic that I overlooked. Moving from commenter to blogger has been an interesting ride. I thought the transition would turn me into more of an observer and unbiased presence, but instead it has just turned me into a bigger fan. I try to distance myself somewhat, especially in my more general NBA columns, but it can be hard at times. The good thing is that writing remains as fun as ever, win or lose, triumph or failure.
What was your overall impression of the Clippers season?
I thought the Clippers season was mostly a success. Blake Griffin’s injury and his punching incident put a pall over the season, but the team pushed through to win 50-plus games as usual, and sometimes the team was as great as it has ever been. The playoff collapse was horrible to witness and write about, not going to sugarcoat it, but the path to a championship was probably doomed in December. The First-round exit doesn’t take away from Chris Paul’s MVP caliber season, or JJ Redick’s incredible shooting, or DeAndre Jordan’s continual improvement.
What are you hoping they do in the offseason to improve the team?
I hope Doc (Rivers) takes some risks in the offseason. This doesn’t necessarily mean trading away one of the “Big 3”, but I do think he should at least consider offers if they are good enough. The bench needs to get younger-the Spurs getting run out of the gym by the Thunder only emphasizes that more-which means no more (Paul) Pierce or (Pablo) Prigioni. Austin Rivers must be retained, and I would like to see guys like Luc Mbah a Moute and Wes Johnson back as well. As for other free agents, again, it is all about youth and high upside. Solomon Hill was terrific for the Pacers in the playoffs and might be obtainable with the Clippers’ mid-level exception. Instead of opting for retread veteran players Doc should go after D-League standouts or undrafted free agents. The Clippers also have two solid draft picks Nos. 25 and 33, and I would love to see them draft Patrick McCaw from UNLV and Diamond Stone from Maryland.
Check out Robert’s work at Clips NationYou can also follow Robert on Twitter @RichHomieFlom