The LA Clippers and Doc Rivers have a very interesting relationship. The former president of basketball operations really overachieved last season and looks to do so again.
Doc Rivers was relieved of his duty as President of Basketball last August and the team could not look more different by season’s end. The Los Angeles Clippers have moved on from Lob City and with DeAndre Jordan leaving after opting out to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, we can finally say good bye to that era.
The Clippers are rebuilding. It’s what’s happening in front of us all. The team will tell you they are not but this is not a reload, this is a rebuild. Two different words here, but we shouldn’t fit because this could be an impressive rebuild.
The team played well last season, even while racking up massive injuries through out. Last season that saw two-way players in the rotation and growing before our eyes. It was in large part to Doc Rivers just being the coach. While everyone now says “In Jerry We Trust” it’s a group of voices with Lawrence Frank as the one to make the move. Rivers just coaching is the Rivers you want, He could have kept the title but it might be more attractive with Frank and West as the face of the front office. He will have say but its important for him to not to make the decision.
LA finished the season at a respectable 42-40 and that’s without one of their highest paid players; Danilo Gallinari missed 61 games and the heart of the team Patrick Beverly missed 71 games. That still doesn’t include Blake Griffin, Austin Rivers, or even the Ironman DeAndre Jordans’ missed games.
Rivers coached a young and hungry bunch and while he was missing a lot of his starters, he had a game plan every night and had his team ready to compete. Juwan Evans and Tyrone Wallace played key roles in helping the team remain afloat while other players nursed injuries. The team might not be the 50 win team we are used to, the team really looks to be building for the future.
The rookies will have experience under their belt and should only help the teams continuity in the upcoming season, and while the guard situation will need to be addressed the team really liked Wallace to match his offer sheet from the pelicans. The team has pieces in place to compete every night and expect them to explore all options in making the team better.
The Future with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson
The Clippers picked 12 and 13 in this years draft, selecting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson in the first round and its been a while since they have sniffed a legitimate first round pick. While the team gets younger it will be up to Rivers and his assistants to get them ready, They are natural athletes and running the court will not be a problem. Their transition to the NBA should be fun to watch and their impact when they are on the court.
If the roster stays the same going into the season expect some injuries here and there, which will allow their first rounders to get valuable minutes. It will be important in their development to come off the bench to properly get acclimated to game speed. Patrick Beverley and Avery Bradley will likely start but durability might become an issue and give way to the new class.
The Clippers also have to figure out what they are going to do with their guard situation. They will not have this many by seasons start but it will be interesting to see who is on the final 15. The team is in so much flux that a third of the team could easily be different by the trade deadline. The Clippers only have Gallo as a contract over 20 million and will look to move him if they can. Tobias Harris is in the back wanting to get paid after turning down an $80 million dollar extension.
While 50 wins might not be realistic it’s still possible for the Clippers to be around .500. Their team will be long and will love to run. The current roster assembled could see themselves as a possible 7th or 8th seed if they can stay healthy. Rivers will have his young players ears and the veterans know what is expected of them. If the team finishes the season 41-41 it will be a win but it would also be them overachieving again. Fans should be excited because unpredictability and low expectations could bring some fireworks.