The team is set to have eight members of the roster return for 2012-13 and could add Mo Williams to the list if the high-scoring reserve elects to pick up the option on the final year of his contract before a June 30 deadline. Following his team's Game 4 loss to the Spurs, head coach Vinny Del Negro and Clippers personnel conducted exit interviews with all 15 players with each receiving a summer developmental plan.
Everyone from superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to youngsters Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie were presented points of emphasis to improve over the four-month offseason. The plan includes on-court skills, conditioning, and so on.
According to Severns, "The development of Trey, Travis, DeAndre [Jordan], and Eric Bledsoe are among our primary focuses for us this offseason."
Over the next two weeks, Clippers.com will take an individual look at the Clippers' eight players currently under contract for the 2012-13 season and briefly review their 2011-12 contributions, and give an indication of what Del Negro, Severns, and the rest of the front office and coaching staff have in mind for the summer.
Gallery | DeAndre Jordan: 2011-12 Season
Yet his presence as the backline of the Clippers defense, which improved as the season advanced, was harder to quantify.
Throughout the year, Griffin and Paul were among the most outspoken about the necessity of having Jordan as the team's pseudo goaltender. He had his moments. He blocked a career-high eight shots on opening night versus Golden State, grabbed 11 defensive rebounds against Toronto, and led the Clippers in boards in 23 times. He also had three or more rejections in 26 games, was one of only five players in the league to average more than two blocks per game and finished fourth overall in the category.
His offensive repertoire was much the same as it was the year before with a massive percentage of his made field goals coming inside the paint or at the rim. However, he showed flashes of a budding post game. There was a spinning drive against Utah, a buzzer-beating finger roll against the Lakers, a couple of baseline jumpers with the 24-second clock expiring, and a handful of jump hooks. Of course, those types of plays were somewhat harder to come by when the attention Griffin and Paul received from defenses opened things up for Jordan's almost requisite high-flying dunks.
Jordan said he felt like the number of easy looks he got around the rim increased this year as compared to years one through three. He was also quick to point out that while he shot just 52.5% from the free-throw line his percentage has increased dramatically each of the last three seasons (up from 37.5% in 2009-10).
According to Severns, there are three major points of emphasis for Jordan this offseason: His offensive game, free throw shooting, and his body.
Part of that may come from "playing high-level pick-up basketball whether it's [in L.A.] or in Houston," Severns said. During the lockout, Jordan worked out with former NBA head coach and one-time Clippers assistant John Lucas and several college and professional players in his hometown. Jordan said that was where he started piecing together his post game. Severns said this year the soon-to-be 24-year-old will be tasked with building on what he did last summer. "He can add a jump hook and little back to the basket moves," Severns said.
"Starting every game and in the playoffs I had to make sure my body was healthy and I was in shape," Jordan said. "I got a lot of treatment to make sure I was as fresh as possible."
Another factor for Jordan this offseason, he said, will be getting more familiar with his teammates, something made far more complicated by last season's truncated schedule.
"We have to learn each other a lot more," Jordan said. "We really had to learn about each other on the fly this year. I only had three days of training camp, so did Chris [Paul]. We brought new guys in throughout the year. We had different lineups, different scenarios. It was just a crazy season all around, not just for this team but for every team in the league. Once we jell a lot more we'll be a lot better."
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