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Will clips make playoffs this year?
japkilla » 09/23/17 » 4:53pm
09/25/17 » 10:25am
Clippers Trade Liggins To Hawks
JGlanton » 09/24/17 » 4:41pm
09/25/17 » 9:47am
Fantasy basketball owners: How many play?
GriffinSetShots32 » 03/24/15 » 9:40am (Page: 1, 2, 3 … Last Page)
09/24/17 » 11:58am
Gallo Can Post
JGlanton » 09/23/17 » 1:10pm
09/23/17 » 7:32pm
Remaining Free Agents
Mistwell » 09/22/17 » 1:37pm
09/23/17 » 5:20pm
The Clippers have hired Bruce Bowen to be the analyst on team broadcasts, said several NBA executives who were not authorized to speak on the matter.
Bowen replaces Michael Smith, who was let go this summer after 19 seasons.
Bowen, who won three NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs, had...
For the first time since his rookie season, Blake Griffin is being tasked with carrying the Los Angeles Clippers franchise back to relevancy. Blake Griffin enters the 2017-18 season with an opportunity to redefine his role within the Los Angeles Clippers organization. Without Chris Paul commanding the ball, the Clippers are likely to lean heavily […]
Can Wesley Johnson perfect his slashing game and increase his minutes in 2017-2018?
Weight: 215 pounds
NBA Experience: 7 years
Position: Small Forward
Key Stats: Career averages of 7.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 23 minutes per game.
Contract Status: Signed through 2019 using MLE
Expectations: Wes Johnson recorded career lows in every major statistical category during the 2016-2017 season. Most of this can be explained away by the fact that the 11.9 minutes per game he played last season was an approximate 50% reduction in minutes from the 23 minutes per game he averaged during his first six seasons in the NBA. The story that the numbers don’t necessarily tell to the unfamiliar eye is that Doc was right to cut Johnson’s minutes. The good things that he was doing in his first season with the Clippers — causing problems for offenses, getting into passing lanes, scoring in transition, hitting corner threes — he suddenly was doing less frequently and less effectively.
This was a complete buzzkill for everyone because — after reasonably solid play as a sometimes starter during his first campaign with the Clippers in 2015-2016 — Doc Rivers saw fit to use the MLE to bring Johnson back to the Clippers on a 3-year / 18 million dollar deal. Part of the thinking there was that Wesley was an athletic wing defender and had some slashing ability on offense, and part of it was an over correction on Doc’s part in reaction to losing out on the Durant deal. Whatever — we overpaid insanely for Crawford and slightly for Rivers within a week of the Johnson deal, making it seem … normal? Still, it’s very unlikely Johnson will play himself into more minutes this season, and he seems like an inefficient use of the MLE.
Johnson will probably see limited time again this year, but could start a few games if Gallinari or Blake are out and Doc doesn’t want to interrupt his second string depth — we saw this a bit last year. The popular expectation is probably that whatever regression was observed in Johnson’s game last year will continue, and we’ll see a lot of DNPs, and probably some weak play while he’s on the court. On the other hand, he’s in great shape, has only just turned 30, and perhaps the new-look Clippers run a system that accentuates what Johnson does better.
It’s super cliche to suggest that athletic midsized wings who aren’t top 50 players should reinvent themselves as “3 and D” guys — a cringe worthy term in my opinion anyway. Yes, the league is trending towards excessive 3 point shooting. But the slashing 6’4” to 6’7” guy who can get to the rim and frustrate defensive schemes always has it’s place. This was the foundation of prime time Dwayne Wade’s game (and he destroyed defenses with it for 4 years when he was past his prime during the LeBron / Heat era), and it was the primary option for Michael Jordan. Strong slashing to the rim (if the player can finish strong) is simply a maneuver that will never go away. If you’ve seen Johnson’s game, he can get to the rim with an insane combination of smooth cutting and a long+far leap. This is a major reason why he was the #4 pick in the 2010 draft. The problem is that he is too timid when his drives are contested, and he is ineffective at absorbing contact and drawing fouls. Combined with the fact that he’s a below average free throw shooter, and what could be a signature maneuver becomes a frustrating, anti-climatic thing that often results in a turnover and a fast break. That said, Johnson is unlikely to develop the touch needed for the shooting component of the “3 and D” guys. How he can play himself back into the rotation is by working through the weak areas of his slashing game. He can hit the corner 3 enough to force a defense to close out, but he should use it as a loss leading tool get into a slashing lane. If his slashes can start turning into makes, fouls, and free throws often enough to average one point per drive then he’d be in business.
Wesley is 30 this year, but he doesn’t have a lot of miles on his body or any major injuries — he’s only missed significant time during any season once five years ago. This is an important season for him because he could either have a bounce back year, reinvent himself a bit as an off the bench slasher with wing defense skills, and set himself up for a contract past 2019, or if he could have a season like last year, but worse, and maybe be out of the league in two years.
Check out Wesley’s slashing from his Lakers era — let’s hope for that aggressive at-the-rim thing again this season.
Jawun Evans brings great tenacity and basketball acumen to the LA Clippers. But does he have enough upside to crack the rotation in his rookie season?
Weight: 185 lbs.
NBA Experience: 0 years (rookie)
Key Stats: 19.2 points, 6.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 29.3 minutes per game on 43.8% FG, 37.9% 3PT FG, and 81.2% FT during his final season at Oklahoma State
Contract Status: 3-year/$3.8 million
Selected 39th overall in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, and immediately acquired thereafter in exchange for cash considerations, Jawun Evans was a bargain pickup for the LA Clippers. Evans is known for his agility as well as his ability to facilitate which, when combined with his overall efficiency, give him a decent chance at someday becoming a reliable contributor in the NBA. That likely won’t be any time soon, however.
The combination of solid guard depth for the Clippers as well as Evans’ youth are expected to put a significant damper on his playing time. The transition might be progressive, but he’s shown signs of leadership and ability to develop quickly at the college level. Evans had two solid years at Oklahoma State University, where, during his sophomore season, he earned first team All-Big 12 honors and became the first OSU player to tally 600+ points and 200+ assists in a single season. He ran one of college basketball’s most efficient offenses during the 2016-17 season, mastering the pick-and-roll game and finishing superbly in transition. And this is all following a stellar freshman season in which he led all Big 12 freshmen in scoring (12.9 points) and assists (4.9) per game, as well field goal, 3-point, and free throw percentage, ultimately earning him Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors. But what will it all mean for Evans at the next level?
Offensive production doesn’t often translate from college to the NBA. That said, there are some notable takeaways. The pick-and-roll, a major part of Evans’ game, is still very much alive in the NBA; he now has far more options at his disposal in bigs/forwards who would be ideal beneficiaries. In addition, while his ability to facilitate might not come so easy at the next level, he has demonstrated that he is capable of making his teammates around him better. His decision-making skills illustrate his deep high basketball IQ, a trait which certainly fares well during the college-to-NBA transition. He also has a knack for stealing the ball, a statistical measure which often correlates with success in the NBA; and it’s not necessarily the stat itself that translates but, rather, the level of effort that most-often accompanies it.
Despite all of Evans’ positive attributes, it is worth noting that he fell to the second round of the draft for a reason. His one glaring limitation is his size; his 6-foot height could make it difficult for him to defend, and score-against, most other NBA guards. His strength and his 6’5” wingspan might help make up some ground, but it will be tough nonetheless. Guards like Chris Paul (with whom Evans has many similarities) and Isaiah Thomas (also a second round selection) have managed to overcome such size concerns and play at an elite level; but this is very uncommon. Evans will have to work very hard, not only to crack the Clippers’ rotation but also, to simply develop into a rotation player. So what will this season look like for him?
Expect Evans to spend most of his season developing with the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. Fortunately for both Evans and the LA Clippers, there now exists a dedicated development team, via the G-League, for players to grow meaningfully with the team even when NBA playing time isn’t always available. Barring either an injury or trade involving one of the Clippers’ other guards, Evans will likely be looking on from the bench when he isn’t with the AC Clippers. It gives him a chance to study the NBA game at a close vantage point, and on a 3-year contract, it’s expected that he will contribute at some point.
For now, fans of Jawun Evans will have to wait patiently before he even becomes a factor for the Clippers. He could eventually become an endearing presence for fans because of his pace, his vision, his humility, and ultimately his effort. But don’t expect much until next season at the earliest. In the meantime, make sure to follow the AC Clippers, and check out some of his best plays below.
Here are some of Evans’ best plays with Oklahoma State:
And here are some of his best plays from NBA Summer League this year:
Sindarius Thornwell looks like a player who can contribute immediately. But will he get playing time during his rookie season?
Weight: 212 lbs.
NBA Experience: 0 years (rookie)
Key Stats: 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.1 steals in 33.9 minutes per game on 44.5% FG, 39.5% 3PT FG, and 83% FT during his final season at South Carolina
Contract Status: 3-year/$3.8 million
Sindarius Thornwell might be the most NBA-ready player the LA Clippers have drafted in quite some time. While he doesn’t possess the tremendous offensive upside often seen in lottery territory, he could eventually become a very important part of the Clippers’ retooling efforts. His combination of youth, athleticism, and defensive savvy make him a commodity for a team that has lacked those attributes at depth in recent years.
Selected 48th overall in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, and immediately acquired thereafter by the Clippers in exchange for cash considerations, Thornwell was a bargain for LA. Thornwell might even be an outright steal. (In fact, Clips Nation’s Robert Flom wrote an article earlier this summer explaining why Thornwell might be a steal for the Clippers.)
Thornwell was a solid contibutor during his first three years at the University of South Carolina, but it was in his fourth and final year that he garnered the attention of the NCAA and NBA scouts alike. The attention was well-deserved, as were the accolades of First-Team All-SEC and SEC Player of the Year. During his junior year, he averaged 13.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Despite averaging just a minute more of playing time during his senior year, his production ballooned. In his senior year, he averaged 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1 block per game. To top it all off, he had the most efficient season of his collegiate career in every shooting category. Using NBA Math’s Total Points Added metric, Thornwell was actually the most effective player in all of college basketball last season (you can find a further breakdown here from Clips Nation’s Lucas Hann). It also didn’t hurt that he led South Carolina to their first-ever Final Four appearance, defeating Marquette, Duke, Baylor, and Florida in the process (all top-10 ranked teams).
As with most other prospects, Thornwell’s college production is unlikely to translate to NBA production. There are some facets that are worth noting, however. His production during each of his first three years was nearly identical in most regards, illustrating his ability to maintain consistency. That he improved so immensely and led South Carolina so far into the postseason during his senior year demonstrates his commitment to his own development as well as his strong desire to win. That he finished all four years and earned his degree demonstrates his maturity and strong work ethic. But what does this all mean for his role on the Clippers?
It’s hard to know exactly how Thornwell might be utilized on the Clippers’ roster. We can expect his role to be fairly limited, at least for now. And history would tell us that a team with Doc Rivers at the helm is unlikely to give solid minutes to rookie talent, warranted or not. The Clippers of the 2017-18 season are vastly different, though. Following the departures of Chris Paul, JJ Redick, Jamal Crawford, Luc Mbah a Moute, Paul Pierce, Marreese Speights, Raymond Felton, and Brandon Bass, the Clippers have gotten younger and longer. Sporting a new identity and without the same urgent playoff expectations of recent years, the Clippers have given themselves room to grant rookies meaningful playing time. They now also have their own dedicated development team, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, part of the NBA’s G-League; this may serve as a a valuable resource in developing young players like Thornwell.
Thornwell is likely to begin the season third on the depth chart at shooting guard, possibly at small forward as well. While his 6’5” height may leave him vulnerable against other forwards offensively, his 6’10” wingspan gives him a significant advantage at the defensive end for either position. Thornwell, at least early on, is likely to be used primarily for his defensive abilities against lower-tier reserves. His high motor and defensive savvy are likely to earn him extra minutes during the course of this season only if one of the following occurs: the Clippers move one of their guards at the trade deadline in February, or one of their guards suffers an injury during the course of the season. Austin Rivers, Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic, and Lou Williams are basically a lock for the Clippers’ first and second guard units, at least through February. The small forward minutes are also likely to be shared between Danilo Gallinari, Sam Dekker, and Wesley Johnson. This leaves Thornwell, barring a miraculously transcendent training camp/preseason, with very few opportunities for significant playing time.
Thornwell, along with fellow rookie Jawun Evans, inked a three-year deal with the Clippers. So he appears to be a part of the Clippers’ future, though they will focus on his development above plugging him into lineups to win immediately. For this reason, he’s likely to split his time between playing for the AC Clippers and learning the NBA game by watching from the bench.
When he does get playing time, expect him to operate in a 3-and-D mould. Thornwell, excellent ball-handler and downhill guard in college, will probably be used more for his ability to space the floor and pass from the perimeter. On the defensive end, he may be used to guard positions 1 through 4, the same way Austin Rivers has the last two years. Two NBA players who come to mind when thinking about his trajectory are Iman Shumpert and Jared Dudley; Thornwell’s ceiling may be higher than either one given his transition game, his overall efficiency, and the league’s movement towards small-ball basketball. For now though, Thornwell fans must remain patient.
Thornwell is one of the most exciting young players the Clippers have had in a long time, but it will probably be at least a year or so before we even begin to see him become a consistent part of the rotation. That said, his strong work ethic, his basketball intellect, and his high motor should make him a fan favorite in due time.
Here are some of Thornwell’s best plays with South Carolina:
And here are some of his best plays from NBA Summer League this year:
Jamil Wilson is the Clippers’ first two-way contract player. What should we expect from him in his rookie season?
Weight: 230 pounds
NBA Experience: Rookie
Position: Small Forward/Power Forward
Key Stats (for Fiat Torino in Italian Lega Basket League): Averaged 12.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 29.8 minutes per game. Shot 47.2/39.8/80.9 with 5.3 three-point attempts and 3.0 free throw attempts per game.
Contract Status: Two-Way Contract for 2017-2018
Expectations: Jamil Wilson is the Clippers’ first (and so far, only) two-way contract. That means he will spend most of his season down with the Agua Caliente Clippers in the G-League: he can only be with the LA Clippers for a maximum of 45 days. When he’s with the AC Clippers he will get paid at a rate of $75,000 a year (low, but way higher than other G-League salaries), while he will make a pro-rated minimum contract ($800,000+) during his time in the NBA. Jamil would therefore be very happy if he got the full 45 days in the NBA, as he would gain a lot of extra salary as well as experience.
The Clippers signed Jamil after his explosive Summer League performance, where he was the Clippers’ best player. A lot of that excellence was outrageously hot shooting that won’t carry over, but Jamil impressed in other ways as well. He appeared competent on defense (no small feat in Summer League) both on-ball and off, and defended every position from point guard to center. Ten years ago Jamil would have been considered a “tweener” because of his size and lack of true position. In today’s NBA, he is a terrific fit as a combo forward who can guard multiple positions due to his length, strength, and relative quickness. He probably isn’t going to be the Clippers’ Draymond Green, though he could be a useful defensive player on a team that has struggled with size and length in the past.
It is on offense, however, that Wilson flashed true potential. He’s a very good shooter from distance, which is beneficial at any position, but is even more appreciated when he’s playing power forward and stretches the floor. Jamil has a fairly quick release, and is comfortable from all around the three-point arc. As the Clippers discovered with Luc Mbah a Moute, being a solid outside shooter isn’t super valuable if you can’t get your shot off consistently, or can only hit from certain spots. Jamil hopefully won’t have those issues in the NBA. Outside of shooting, Wilson proved to have a nose for offensive rebounds, and had a couple nice put-back dunks. Those will be tougher to come by against better competition, but the energy and activity will be valued regardless. More impressively, Jamil demonstrated decent passing ability, as he racked up eight assists in one game. His averaging of around two assists per game in the D-League (solid for a non-ball dominant forward) backs up the eye test and his Summer League numbers. While he’s not a true playmaker like Blake Griffin, Jamil will move the ball and can make passes off the dribble. At 26, he isn’t going to start developing ISO skills that he doesn’t already possess (at least not substantially)—he isn’t the kind of player to create offense. But his game is perfectly suited to be a “glue” guy at the NBA level.
Jamil has two different expectations: one for his time in the G-League, the other for his stretch in the NBA. As the Clippers’ only under-contract player in Ontario, it makes sense that Wilson will get a lot of minutes for Agua Caliente. Again, he’s not a guy who AC will run their offense through, but he should hopefully be their best player, a well-rounded force who can do a bit of everything. If all goes well, he should honestly look too good for the G-League. In the NBA, Jamil probably won’t get too much playing time (unless one of Danilo Gallinari or Sam Dekker misses a long stretch due to injury). However, when he does play, he should look like he at least belongs in the NBA. He’s a seasoned veteran, and while he hasn’t played in the NBA before, the Clippers must be hoping he can contribute at least some rotation level minutes if called upon.
I like Jamil Wilson’s game. He’s not flashy, but he’s just a good player. He contributes positively when he’s on the court, and does so in a variety of ways. There’s no guarantee he plays at a high enough level to be an NBA rotation player, true. Yet he just has the feel of a guy who can adapt his game to raised competition, and I think there’s a real chance he gets minutes for the (LA) Clippers this season. I’m excited to watch him suit up for the Clips.
The Clippers will once again have a black alternate.
At a Nike event in L.A. on Friday night, the Clippers, along with the rest of the NBA, officially unveiled their alternate “Statement” edition jerseys.
This is the third of four new jerseys coming this year, as Nike takes over the NBA’s uniform contract from Adidas and revamps each team’s jersey sets. The fourth edition is the “community” edition, and following the release of white, blue, and black jerseys, it seems logical that the Clippers’ fourth jersey should be red.
Here’s the tweet from the Clippers, showing Blake Griffin as he unveils the new black alternate:September 16, 2017
This isn’t much of a change from the Clippers’ black alternate last season, which was similar but instead featured a full circular logo around the “LAC,” with horizontal arches between the logo and number.
One of the many pieces in the complicated Chris Paul trade with a singular but impressive skill-set, what can we expect from DeAndre Liggins in the 2017-2018 season?DeAndre Liggins:
Weight: 209 pounds
NBA Experience: 4 seasons (in 6 years)
Contract Status: Partially guaranteed ($26,773) for 2017-2018 season
Expectations: DeAndre Liggins’ path to the Clippers was relatively unconventional. After being drafted by Orlando at the tail-end of the 2nd round, the Kentucky guard bounced around the league, including a half-season in Oklahoma City and stints with the Heat, the G-League (formerly D-League), and even some time playing overseas. Finally last year, he found meaningful minutes playing with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Now you might see his stat-line and be unimpressed, and I wouldn’t blame you. It’s pretty dismal on the surface, and when I saw it I couldn’t help but wonder why I volunteered to write this player preview. (For the record, I volunteered because his name is “DeAndre.”) So if he had such mediocre numbers, why was the then-28-year-old getting rotation-level minutes on a championship contender?
Being the brilliant researcher that I am, I Googled “DeAndre Liggins Cavaliers minutes lol” and the first result was a fantastic Sports Illustrated article that told me exactly why Liggins was getting those minutes: Defense—specifically, his ability to use his 6’11.5” wingspan and quick feet to pester small, fast, sharp-shooting point guards. He was to be Cleveland’s Kyrie-can’t-guard-a-potato-much-less-Steph-Curry insurance.Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports Seriously what is Kyrie even doing here?
Hidden deeply in that mediocre stat-line was a single gem: with 0.8 steals per game in 12.5 minutes per game, DeAndre had a steal rate of 3.0% (tied with Tony Allen for best in the NBA last season). And the Cavaliers’ game-plan seemed to work. On the Christmas day match against the Warriors, Liggins started the game and held Stephen Curry to 15 points, 3 turnovers, 36% field goals and 29% from three. And in their rematch 22 days later Curry only shot 35% from the field, partly due to Liggins’ presence. Of course, they lost that second game by 35 points, and after 2 months of mostly DNPs and sub-5-minute-games he was waived to make room for... Dahntay Jones. Yeah.
Liggins was immediately picked up off waivers by the Mavericks, who played him in the final game of the season, allowing them to pick up his (partially guaranteed) team option as a trade piece for the summer. As expected, he was traded to the Rockets for cash considerations, so he could ultimately be included in the Chris Paul trade, landing him on your Los Angeles Clippers.
Well, since this section is titled “Expectations,” I should probably tell you what to expect from Liggins this year for the Clippers: unfortunately, not a whole lot. With Patrick Beverley and Austin Rivers on the team, it’s pretty unlikely the 29-year-old Liggins will see many minutes. More likely, he’ll be kept as a potential trade piece who can help push the rotation players in training camp and at practice, and who also happens to have a really great name. If he does manage to get on the court, expect him to be a scrappy, quick-footed defender that plays hard from baseline-to-baseline and occasionally hits the corner-three. (I probably should have led with that.)No words necessary.