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The season was certainly not what Clippers forward Ryan Gomes had hoped. He entered training camp in December looking to contribute as a primary backup to newly acquired starter Caron Butler.
It was an opportunity to bounce back from a career-low season in 2010-11 when he averaged just 7.2 points per game on 41% shooting with 3.3 rebounds. There looked to be ample opportunity for Gomes, in his seventh NBA season, to get minutes at both forward spots and play a similar efficient style off the bench that made him a valuable commodity for three years with the Timberwolves.
Still, Gomes served as a valuable member of the locker room. He appeared in just 32 games, only three after Feb. 22, but his presence as a mentor for younger players and a positive influence overall was not lost on his teammates. To some extent, Gomes, who is as knowledgeable about the sport as anyone in the league, was like another coach on the bench.
Kenyon Martin called Gomes the "ultimate pro" based on how he handled his lack of playing time. And while Gomes admitted the situation was not ideal, he maintained that being supportive was more important than anything.
Gomes has one season remaining on his contract and is heading into an offseason in which his role is somewhat undefined. He’s already started working out at home in Connecticut and is expected to be back in Los Angeles soon.
Severns and the coaching staff are anxious for Gomes to return to the facility. "We need him around because he works so hard and young guys see it," Severns said.
Gomes is often one of the last players to leave the court and constantly works with Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, among others.
"He plays a lot of 1-on-1 with Trey and Blake [Griffin] and really pushes them," Severns added.
For Gomes, it will also be about pushing to re-establish himself as the player who averaged 13 points and five rebounds and shot 37% from 3-point range in 2008-09 and prove his first two seasons with the Clippers were merely an anomaly.
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