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"Lakers Will Be 2nd Seed In The West"
JGlanton » 07/16/18 » 1:14pm (Page: 1, 2)
07/20/18 » 4:30pm
V-Ice » 07/20/18 » 3:58pm
07/20/18 » 4:29pm
Kawhi Leonard traded to Toronto
htownfan » 07/18/18 » 7:04am (Page: 1, 2)
07/20/18 » 3:59pm
What's the deadline for Montrezl to receive offers?
JGlanton » 07/20/18 » 7:41am
07/20/18 » 3:56pm
SGA & Jerome
V-Ice » 07/3/18 » 6:29pm
07/20/18 » 3:56pm
Last season might have been an anomaly for Doc Rivers.
He played rookies and end-of-the-bench youngsters for long stretches of games. In fact, he relied on them to keep the 2017-18 Clippers competitive.
Forced into something he has avoided mostly for the entirety of his previous 18 years as a head coach, it’s far too early to call it a trend.
So, as the offseason winds along, and a deep Clippers roster continues to take shape with a mix of veterans and youngsters, Rivers might want to do some self-reflecting. Because with the bevy of capable guards on the roster, it’s increasingly more likely that entering year No. 7 with the Clippers he will again venture down an all-too-familiar path of leaning on veterans over player development.
If the first round pick sitting on the bench were Brice Johnson or C.J. Wilcox, low 20s selections with limited first-year upside, it would be predictable or understandable. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is not that.
It became obvious as the Las Vegas summer slate moved on, that the recently turned 20-year-old, 11th overall pick has the chance to be an immediate difference maker. As a rookie, his ability to shift gears, see the floor and make the right play are already present. He’s got a silky mid-range game. And, oh yeah, there’s his defensive potential. Gilgeous-Alexander’s got arms that, outstretched, could seemingly smother the front end of a big rig. That 7-foot wingspan allows him to guard multiple positions and he’s got the defensive instincts to match, which will still continue to improve.
“I just like his intangibles, other than just his size and his skill,” Rivers told NBATV during Summer League. “He’s going to be special.”
And Gilgeous-Alexander looked it in Vegas. In four games, he averaged 19.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists in just fewer than 28 minutes per game. By the time, he suited up for the fourth time it was clear he was ready for the brighter stage. It seemed almost like cheating at times to have Gilgeous-Alexander on the floor.
So, where does that leave Rivers in the decision-making process come October? Perhaps, he sees enough of those “special” attributes in the preseason to make him a staple top 8 member of the rotation. But at this point it should be full steam ahead. As a backup to assumed starter Patrick Beverley, and in-lieu of Milos Teodosic (if he’s on the roster come Opening Night), Gilgeous-Alexander would likely see 18-20 minutes. Take some time away from Avery Bradley or go small and play Danilo Gallinari less, and Rivers can get him up to 28-30. From there, it’s just a matter of trusting him, or more less allowing him opportunity to build that trust.
Realistically, the Clippers are, at best, interesting, fringe contenders for a mid-range seed in the Western Conference. Having a rookie with game-changing potential earn quality minutes early could pay off in March, April and May. Here’s hoping Rivers learned that lesson a season ago.
Kawhi Leonard has been traded from the San Antonio Spurs to the Toronto Raptors and now the chances of him ever joining the Los Angeles Clippers are slim to none. The Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs pulled off the trade of the summer by essentially swapping DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard, which is terrible […]
Los Angeles Clippers can kiss Kawhi Leonard goodbye forever - LA Sports Hub - LA Sports Hub - A Los Angeles Sports Site - Lakers, Clippers, Rams, Chargers, Kings, Dodgers, Angels, USC Trojans, UCLA Bruins, Ducks, Galaxy
The Clippers announced Thursday that they had signed forward Luc Mbah a Moute to return to the team.
The deal is for one year at $4.3 million.
Mbah a Moute had spent the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons with the Clippers before playing for the Houston Rockets last season. He averaged 7.5 points and...
Kawhi is off the Spurs, but there’s a real chance he’s back on the trade market before long.
When news hit this morning about Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Toronto Raptors, the reactions I saw from Clippers’ fans were mixed. Some were bummed that the Clippers weren’t able to make the deal for him. Others were happy because they didn’t want to trade away guys they have grown attached to (Tobias Harris, Pat Beverley, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) for Kawhi, an injury risk and a potential rental. The rest mostly shrugged, having been unconvinced the Clippers would really land him anyway.
However, I’d like to suggest that the hunt for Kawhi might be just getting started. Despite the fact that Toronto seems like a lock for 60 wins and a top 3 seed if Kawhi is healthy, despite Toronto being a fantastic city (for basketball and everything else), and despite the Raptors’ desire to make this work… there’s still a good chance that Kawhi has no desire to play for the Raptors. Now, it seems unlikely he would refuse to report, as he would lose money for every game missed, and it would drastically harm his free agency stock. That still doesn’t rule out the possibility that Kawhi informs the Raptors he won’t re-sign with them under any circumstances next summer, and that if they keep him it’s entirely a one-year rental.
If Kawhi does make such a statement (not likely, but very possible), it is impossible to predict what happens next. Toronto could keep him all year, hoping that the likelihood of a strong team and a deep playoff run (potentially even a Finals appearance) would be enough to sway him to stay in Toronto, similarly to Paul George in Oklahoma City. They would rely on their culture, their city, and the strength of their team to convince Kawhi Toronto could be his home for the remainder of his prime. It’s happened before, and it could certainly happen again, particularly for a situation as good as Toronto’s and a player as mercurial as Kawhi.
The Raptors could also decide that even if they don’t think Kawhi is staying, they’d rather have him for one year and reap all the benefits that would bring, even if he walks in summer. Making a trip to the Conference Finals is never a bad thing, and having a legitimate superstar could open up new marketing and media doors for the Raptors that were previously closed. Additionally, the Raptors still have a terrific group of young talent, enabling a pivot towards a rebuild if Kawhi departs. It’s not ideal to not get anything in return for him, but clearing DeMar’s contract off the books for following years will grant them greater flexibility, Kawhi or no.
The other option is, of course, that the Raptors decide that they’d rather get something for Kawhi while they still can, and begin shopping him to teams where he might re-sign next summer (Zach Lowe said as much in his fantastic piece on the Kawhi trade yesterday). One of those teams, by all accounts, is the Clippers. There are two possibilities here: one is that the Raptors trade him before the season starts to get a full year with the return pieces, and the other is that the Raptors have Kawhi play for a bit to rehabilitate his value before the trade. Watching him play and (hopefully) reach his 2016-2017 peak would be a great relief for the Clippers, but it would also up the tag on Kawhi’s trade value significantly. Still, the two great risks with trading for Kawhi are his injury situation and the possibility he doesn’t re-sign with the team next summer. Eliminating one of those (if not both, as Kawhi could inform the Clippers he would re-sign if they trade for him) would make giving up real assets (Harris, Gilgeous-Alexander) far less of a risk.
While it seems unlikely that news of Kawhi’s attitude towards the Raptors (and vice-versa) will start coming out anytime soon, it is something to monitor as we head closer towards the season. Having Kawhi pout his way off another team (this time one who gave up a lot to get him) would not be a good look for his brand, so I suspect that he and his team give the Raptors at least somewhat of a chance to pitch him. Still, it is very possible that just a month from now, Kawhi trade rumors will be starting up all over again. And this time, with the seeming knowledge that he really is interested in only Los Angeles (and maybe one or two other places), the Clippers could have a real edge.
Here they are again, the Lakers, the object of an NBA All-Star’s desires. The player has made his plans known.
Wait one year. Save some cap room for me. I’ll be there as soon as I can.
This is the message Kawhi Leonard has sent — for the better part of a year, as he recovered from a right leg injury...
Although the chaos of the NBA offseason is starting to subside, the Los Angeles Clippers still have a great trade partner in the Charlotte Hornets. It takes two to tango and it takes two teams with exact opposite needs to make a good trade in the NBA. Luckily for the Los Angeles Clippers, the team […]
Los Angeles Clippers: The Charlotte Hornets are perfect trade partners - LA Sports Hub - LA Sports Hub - A Los Angeles Sports Site - Lakers, Clippers, Rams, Chargers, Kings, Dodgers, Angels, USC Trojans, UCLA Bruins, Ducks, Galaxy
Several coaches in the Clippers’ organization are getting moved around.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Clippers are changing up their coaching staff a little bit. Casey Hill, who was the head coach of the Agua Caliente Clippers last year, is moving to Doc Rivers’ staff with the NBA squad.
Natalie Nakase, who was a video coordinate for the Clippers a couple years ago and was an assistant coach in Agua Caliente last year, is also getting shifted back to the LA Clippers, where she will join the player development team.
Replacing Hill as the AC head coach is Brian Adams, who was a Coaching Associate/Video Scouting Director for the Clippers last year. He has previously coached with the Celtics (during Doc Rivers’ championship tenure in the late 2000s), and was also a collegiate coach at Harvard and Marist.
Congratulations to Adams on his first head coaching gig, and on Hill and Nakase for getting key positions at the NBA level. It will be exciting to see each of their impacts on the LA and AC Clippers this season.
The Clippers are promoting Agua Caliente G League head coach Casey Hill to Doc Rivers’ Clippers staff, league sources tell ESPN. Also, Natalie Nakase will be promoted to Clippers player development staff.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 17, 2018
Sources: Clippers hiring coaching associate Brian Adams in his first head job, replacing Hill for Agua Caliente. Adams has coached with the Clippers, Celtics, Harvard and Marist. https://t.co/hMRVAMAc63— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 17, 2018
We discussed the 2018 Vegas Summer League and how various key Clippers looked during the week plus in Vegas.
The Vegas Summer League is almost over (the championship game is this afternoon), and the Clippers have been out of action for several days already. It therefore seemed an appropriate time to look back at the Clippers’ week in Vegas and discuss the Clippers’ performance there. Lucas and I went back and forth on different topics, but focusing primarily on the Clippers’ roster players. Without further ado, here’s our conversation:
Robert: Summer League is over, and the Clippers won’t be playing organized basketball as a team in any sort of way until training camp (barring any small workout sessions or mini-camps they hold).
The Clippers didn’t do all that well in Vegas, going 2-4, and losing in the second round of the playoff tournament. Still, winning in Vegas isn’t really all that important: it’s about seeing where the young roster guys are at, and scouting out potential professional players who might be ready to make the jump to the NBA.
In my mind, the Clippers had mixed results in those areas. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was one of the best players in Summer League, but the rest of their young players were inconsistent at best, and nobody else on the roster stuck out as a true NBA talent (as Jamil Wilson did last year), though some are definitely on the fringes. What were your overall thoughts on the Clippers’ stint in Vegas?
Lucas: Yeah, I don’t really mind the losses--what’s important, rather than focusing on trying to win Summer League Championships (cough*Lakers*cough), is that you get a look at as many players who could factor into your franchise’s long-term plans as possible, and put them in a position where they’re put in a position to show what they can do. Normally, the most successful SL teams have the oldest rosters: players with more collegiate or pro experience, potentially prior Summer League experience, and more developed bodies. The Clippers had a very young roster this year, and, beyond the five players in their system who were there this week, got to get a handful of other potential G-League or two-way talents in the gym, working with Clipper coaches.
But aside from accumulating young prospects, you need to make sure you’re actually putting those prospects in a position to play quality possessions and show you skills that may be translatable to the NBA game. The Clippers failed miserably in this regard in 2016, when their guard rotation consisted of David Michineau and a bunch of undrafted rookie free agents. The result was a team that could barely get the ball up the court and couldn’t effectively get into any of their offensive action. The team lost every game and there weren’t any quality observations to take away. In 2017, they over-corrected for this, adding Kendall Marshall’s multiple years of NBA experience as a steady hand to guide the offense. They didn’t have any notable success as a team, but they were able to run a real offense. That laid the table for this 2018 summer league, when for the first time in almost a decade, the Clippers had lottery prospects to get a look at. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ran the offense with as much poise as any veteran, and while the basketball was pretty bad when he was off the floor, we got a chance to make some decent evaluations while he was setting the table.
I’m sure we’ll get to Shai in detail--who else stuck out to you?
Robert: Yeah this Summer League team was very different from years prior, but not in a bad way. I think their decision to load up with youngster rather than proven veterans had a lot to do with the fullness of their “regular” roster. The Clippers need to cut players, not add more, so they really weren’t in a position to offer a potential roster spot to Summer League players this year. Last year, guys like Kendall Marshall, Hollis Thompson, and Jamil Wilson knew they had at least a shot at making the roster. I don’t think that w was really in the cards this year.
As for who stuck out to me.... outside of Shai, I think the biggest positive was probably Vince Hunter. Again, the Clippers don’t have room on the roster for him (unless they fail to bring back Montrezl Harrell, who he’s essentially a worse version of), but he definitely earned at least a training camp invite somewhere, maybe even a straight up two-way deal. He was energetic, played super hard, and demonstrated NBA-level athleticism at the big man positions. He’s a bit of a tweener, a power-forward sized player who can’t shoot or handle much, but undersized as a rim protector. Still, he can play, and his finishing around the basket and rebounding capabilities were impressive.
Negatively, I think Grant Jerrett was pretty clearly the worst player on the team who got significant minutes: this was a disappointment considering he was the most experienced veteran on the team, and one of the few players with extended time on an NBA roster (albeit very few minutes of actual game time). However, I was much more let down by the play of the Clippers’ second year players, Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell. Each had their moments, but both also performed well below where I wanted them to. Jawun wasn’t aggressive enough, barely making an impression on the court during most of his stints. He looked hesitant (a possible after-effect of his sports hernia surgery, possibly), and didn’t appear fully comfortable until the last game. Sindarius put up stats, for the most part, but outside of a somewhat smoother and quicker three-point shot, he didn’t seem farther along than his rookie season. He was very shot-happy, and didn’t utilize much cleverness with his moves, instead bulling straight to the rim in a manner that won’t work much in the NBA proper. I wish he’d demonstrated tighter handles, better passing ability, or just a clearer understanding of when to press the issue on offense.
Nobody else really made much an impression, though I think Desi Rodriguez, Reggie Upshaw Jr., and Thomas Wimbush all flashed at least elements of NBA-level play during their stints. Did anybody really stand out to you, one way or another?
Lucas: Summer League rosters also aren’t just based on who the team wants to bring on board--a lot of times top players can be very selective with which teams they want to join. Sure, you can impress scouts by playing well in games no matter which SL roster you join, but the chance to work with coaches in practice and get to know them can’t be overlooked. A player who knows they’re one of the top fringe NBA point guards is likely to join a team that has an open roster spot and only two PGs on the roster. Players know that the top 1-2 performers at summer league have a chance for a training camp invitation, and if they’re able to earn that, they want to be in a camp where they have a shot at a roster.
I think that Upshaw and Hunter are the two non-roster guys who stood out the most to me. Vince has actually been in several NBA training camps, and I think the evolution of the game has really upped the probability that he has an NBA career. He was on a two-way contract during the beginning of the season with Memphis last year, and released around when the Clippers released Jamil Wilson (though he didn’t play nearly as much as Jamil did). Five years ago, Vince is a 6’9” 3/4 tweener with no jumper--basically, a guy with no NBA shot. But in today’s game, he’s an athletic, rebounding 4/5 who can protect the rim and switch out on perimeter players. Is he good enough at those skills to be productive in the NBA? It’s not clear. But the archetype is at least there, and I’m pretty sure he’ll get another shot.
Upshaw probably has less upside towards having a real NBA career, but I could see him getting a two-way somewhere. If you’ve got wing shortages, as a lot of teams do, he’s a hustler 6’7” SF who shot 39% from three in Germany last year (4 attempts per game in 30 minutes a night). I don’t think he has the well-rounded two-way skill or consistent jumper that he’d need to be a real rotation piece, but I could see keeping him on a two-way and calling him up when someone rolls an ankle. It’s far more likely that his career stays in Europe, though.
I’d also keep my eye on Wimbush. He was beyond dreadful in the Summer League, but Clippers SL coach Casey Hill (who also coaches the Agua Caliente Clippers) told us it was a real letdown for Thomas, who had impressed the staff a ton in their mini-camp. He was a G-League backup last year, so the Clippers might look to get his G-League rights so he can keep working with the Agua Caliente coaching staff.
I’ll also say that I didn’t see much from Angel Delgado that really stood out to me. The Clippers immediately targeted him with a two-way contract after he went undrafted last month, but I’m not really seeing the upside here. I’m actually a fan of using the two-way deal on a true center, since you don’t need that traditional third 7-footer that all teams used to carry anymore, but you also don’t want to only have two centers going into an 82-game season. Putting a center on a two-way deal allows you have that extra depth at center without using a third roster spot on the position. But at least this year, the Clippers already have three centers, with big expiring deals for Gortat and Marjanovic, and the hopefully-soon-to-be-resigned Montrezl Harrell. Because of that depth, Delgado seems to bring little short-term depth value, and I don’t know that he’ll ever really be an NBA player. I think by the time the season rolls around, they’ll have more interesting options for their two-way slots.
I agree with you on Jawun, but sort of differ on Sindarius. To me, a “somewhat smoother and quicker three-point shot” is all I need to see from him. He’ll probably actually play fewer minutes in year 2 than year 1, and I think the rotational skillset is already there if he can increase his quantity of 3PA without dropping off too much in efficiency. I don’t mind him struggling in Summer League when the ball is in his hands a lot, because he should really almost never have the ball in his hands at the NBA level. He’s your 5th offensive option (maybe 4th depending on what C you have in the game) whenever he’s on the floor, so a lot of the times when he struggled in Vegas don’t project meaningfully into that role. Jawun, on the other hand, doesn’t have very many uses without the ball in his hands. His defensive pressure is good, but his lack of size and versatility limit him to a bit player on that end rather than a net positive, and he’s done nothing to show that offensively, he’s either A) worth trusting with the ball, or B) capable of being competent off the ball. And unlike Sindarius, I don’t see any sort of results to indicate he’s moving in the right direction.
Speaking of Jawun, I’m actually at a point with him where I don’t really mind the Clippers cutting him to keep Milos Teodosic around--I’m far more concerned about Milos’ presence keeping Shai and Jerome from getting some burn during their rookie season. What do you think about those rookies so far?
Robert: Yeah I agree with you on most of that. Delgado had a few nice moments, mostly in the post on offense and on the glass, but he didn’t really look like an NBA player to me, and he is not an NBA archetype that is very valuable any more. I think he’s an ok signing, but I concur that there are more interesting players available for the two-way deals. Upshaw looked like a classic “Quadruple A” guy to me, to use a baseball term: very good at the European or G-League level, but without the athleticism or skillset to really make an NBA impact. Wimbush, on the other hand, was really bad in Summer League, but just watching him play, he moves like an NBA player: he’s super quick, and has plus athleticism for a guard his size. If he can get the semblance of a shot down, I think he could hang around the NBA for a few years as an energy guy off the bench (smaller James Ennis, maybe?).
I’ve been trying to tamp down my hype for Shai since his last game in Summer League a week ago, but it’s hard. He looked so effortlessly good in Vegas, and in ways I think should translate quite clearly to the NBA level. He glides when he moves, and despite a lack of John Wall burst or Jamal Crawford handles, he was able to get to the rim at will against all manner of opponents. Obviously that will be harder in the NBA, and finishing around the rim against true behemoth defensive centers will be more challenging yet... but I think Shai is up to the task. He can finish around the basket with either hand, and has a variety of shots and spins in his bag already to play angles and work his way around defenders.
However, I was most impressed with the poise Shai played with. He was always under control, always talking to his teammates, and never got flustered, even after getting blocked around the basket a few times. The SL squad was noticeably worse with him off the court, and that’s a great sign for a rookie point guard. His defense, too, stood out, as he is laterally quick and his long arms are always in passing and driving lanes. His shot is a work in progress, but even that seemed to improve as the week went along, and he displayed a couple very smooth step-back and pull-up jumpers. He was one of the five most impressive players in Vegas, and that’s counting all guys there who played in the NBA last year.
Jerome Robinson was more difficult to evaluate. He got banged up in the Clippers’ mini-camp before SL started, and his role was therefore reduced in Vegas. He didn’t play on-ball much, and that’s where I think most Clippers’ fans were excited to see him. I did like his shot: it’s easy, quick, and looks like it’s going in almost every time. However, he didn’t actually make it all that frequently, and just failed to stand out in general when he was on the court. I’m going to give him a bit of a pass due to his injuries and Shai’s excellence pushing him to the side a bit, but I would have liked to have seen a lot more from a lottery pick in Vegas, especially one whose game should excel in such a setting. He didn’t look bad by any means, and he had a couple of nice plays (a block here, a couple strong rebounds there) that suggest he can do more than score at the NBA level. But still, I wish he’d jumped off the screen or court more.
Are you just as enthusiastic for Shai as I am, or are you still a bit hesitant? And would you accredit Jerome’s somewhat disappointing play to the injuries?
Lucas: I think Summer League showed us a lot of what we thought we were going to get with Shai--perhaps nothing groundbreaking, but it was really reassuring to see him perform so well. I think Shai is ready for NBA minutes right away. He’ll probably have some struggles, as you’d expect from any rookie, but I’ll be seriously disappointed if he isn’t getting serious nightly minutes. I think he’s going to be a good starting point guard in the league for a long time (though it might be safe to bring him off the bench to start), and maybe a fringe All-Star during his prime. But I’ll stop a little short of some of the crazier hype--I’ve seen some Clippers fans saying SGA should be untouchable in a potential Kawhi Leonard trade, which is sort of silly. Shai is going to be a good starting PG in the NBA, but there are plenty of good starting PGs in the NBA, and a handful come out of the draft every year. Kawhi Leonard is a top-5 player, defensive player of the year, and Finals MVP in his prime. I’d love to keep Shai (even more than Tobias) to pair with Kawhi, but let’s not act like it’s reasonable for the Clippers to trade for Kawhi without giving up anything of value.
Jerome’s Summer League may as well have not happened, as far as I’m concerned. Not only was he limited by various injuries, but those bumps and bruises kept him out of most of the Clippers’ pre-SL practices, which reduced him to a smaller role when he was on the court. I think that, as much as any rookie, Jerome looked a little uncomfortable in Summer League: the game is faster, the players are bigger, the action is quicker. I think he will need more of a learning curve to adjust to the NBA, but the one thing I’m sure of (poor efficiency in a minuscule, disorganized SL sample aside) is that he has an NBA shot. Devin Booker only shot 34% from three as a rookie because he was taking high-difficulty shots (moving off of screens) and adjusting to NBA pace and physicality. Jerome might similarly need a burner year before really being ready to be a high-level NBA shooter, but I think that it’s definitely his future. The real question is what he’ll be able to do on the ball and defensively, and while his SL on-ball skills were actually somewhat underwhelming compared to his collegiate hype as a three-level scorer, his defense exceeded expectations by not standing out in a horribly negative fashion.
Robert: Just to wrap up— I am super high on Shai, but I still think that if Kawhi Leonard is available, the Clippers absolutely have to include him. Regardless, I’m excited to watch him on the Clippers, hopefully for many years to come.