2014-2015 NBA Season Analysis- Los Angeles Clippers
It’s time for the Clippers to get to the next level and become a championship contender. They’re a talented team with great coaching staff that should be able to fight for the 1st spot in the loaded Western Conference. With no major changes in their roster, a couple of good acquisitions in the back-up point guard Jordan Farmar and the talented (but perhaps not the most committed) Spencer Hawes will hopefully help them get closer to their goal.
Coach: Doc Rivers
PG: Chris Paul; Jordan Farmar;
SG: J.J. Redick; Jamal Crawford; Jared Cunningham; C.J. Wilcox (Rookie)
SF: Matt Barnes; Reggie Bullock; C. Douglas-Roberts
PF: Blake Griffin; Hedo Turkoglu; Glen Davis
C: DeAndre Jordan; Spencer Hawes; Ekpe Udoh
Let’s start with the offensive end of the court:
This is a team in which the point guard handles the ball most of the time (I know it sounds obvious but it’s not always like that), thus most plays are based on multiple screens. We can witness pick and rolls between Paul and Griffin all night long. In this regard, it is absolutely vital for them that Blake Griffin keep on improving his jump shooting ability (he already has remarkably), because it opens up plenty of possibilities. If Blake can be consistent with his shot, the defenders will be more concerned and Paul will be able to get deeper in the paint; and once he’s there he can get some easy baskets from the elbow, find DeAndre Jordan for the lob when the opposing big men rotate over on him, and also find the open man on the perimeter (he’s probably the best true point guard in the entire league). Although Blake’s shooting ability is very important, he doesn’t have to settle for jump shots (but it’s of great importance the fact that the opponents know the threat is out there) and obviously has to do what he does best, that is continuing to the basket (pick & roll), where he’s an outstanding finisher and a talented passer (big-to-big passes for Jordan’s lobs, open guys in the perimeter…), as well as post-up plays, where he just outmuscles opponents and has really improved his footwork and movements.
Another key player for the Clippers’ success is J.J. Redick. They need him to become a consistent threat from the perimeter. They need to design plays for him through multiple screening trying to get him wide open shots, because he’s not really a guy who beats you off the dribble. Not only will his ability to become a consistent outside threat create more space for interior players, but it will also open lanes for other guards to penetrate because his defender will have to think twice before helping a teammate out and leaving Redick wide open.
Guys like Barnes, Douglas-Roberts and even Farmar will have to contribute with constant movement without the ball, cuts to the basket and some outside buckets when left wide open. I also said Farmar because we all know Crawford is the primary ball handler coming off the bench, a guy who needs the ball in his hands and can still create his own shot any time he wants (it’s amazing how many big shots he can knock down night in and night out) as well as some plays for others. He can also play the true shooting guard role when playing along Chris Paul.
Finally, DeAndre has to keep doing what he’s good at (solid screens, dunks, offensive rebounding and put backs) and other big guys like Hawes or Glen Davis need to contribute to stretch out the floor with their outside shooting as well as become a little bit more active on the offensive glass.
Let’s now switch onto the defensive end of the court:
They don’t need to worry too much about double teaming because they have great individual defenders both in the perimeter (Chris Paul, Matt Barnes and even Jordan Farmar) and the interior (DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin). Chris Paul’s ability to defend any guard and Barnes’s great individual defence allow Redick to defend less capable offensive players or shooters where he just has to worry about fighting his way through multiple screens (pretty much what he’s accustomed to doing on the offensive end of the court).
I believe zone defence could be valuable for them in certain occasions when the second unit takes over, because they don’t have such great individual defenders coming off the bench.
Finally, some help in the rebounding department from the perimeter guys, DeAndre’s rim protection as well as his ability to improve his defence on more mobile big men, will be key to the Clippers’ success on this end of the floor.
Likely Starting Line-up
Paul – Redick – Barnes – Griffin – Jordan
As I said, I believe this is the year for the Clippers to make a step forward and try to fight for the championship. With all the talent they’ve got in their roster, my prediction is they’ll get (it’s not gonna be easy at all) the #2 spot in an amazingly competitive Western Conference, right behind the defending champs.
Here are some of the top plays from the Clippers' players in the last seasons.