On Friday, July 25th, Clippers.com sat down with Director of Player Personnel Neil Olshey to discuss the Clippers' performance during Las Vegas Summer League.
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posted by Clippers.com | July 25 @ 3:19 pm
What were your overall impressions of the team during Las Vegas Summer League?
We were very pleased with DeAndre Jordan. He was one of the top players in Summer League in field goal percentage and blocked shots. He was really efficient and I think he showed us enough to prove that we can get him on the court sooner than we anticipated.
Summer League was a good learning experience for Mike Taylor, who played behind veteran Randy Livingston in the D-League last year. It was his first chance to really run a team full-time. There were bumps, but now he has played five games at the point guard for us, running our offensive system. We have a lot of film to watch with him. Heís exactly what we thought athletically. Heís off the charts as a point guard, heís great on-the-ball defender, but heís just going to have to slow his tempo down to run a team.
Even though Eric Gordon only played in two games because we got very cautious with his hamstring, he was terrific. He did all of the things we knew he could do, and then he did other things even better than we had anticipated.
How beneficial is it for players like Al Thornton, Nick Fazekas and Marcus Williams, who have already been through an NBA season, to participate in Summer League?
Neil Olshey: Weíre a big believer in Summer League. We think itís invaluable. In the past we had Shaun Livingston play in the Summer League a month after he locked up Steve Nash in the Western Conference Semifinals. Chris Kaman signed a $55 million extension and he was playing in Summer League.
We place a high value on it for a number of reasons. It gives us an opportunity to check in on our younger players midway through the off-season, which is important. It gives guys, who are role players during the season because of their youth, a chance to be ďgo-toĒ guys and be the focal point of the offense. It raises their confidence level because of the success they usually have against lesser competition. It lets players get away, focus just on basketball for a two week period Ė from the training camp we have, the scrimmages to the games. It really helps them go from being the young guys to being the veterans.
If youíre Al Thornton or Nick Fazekas, you were the guy carrying the bags or getting the coffee in the mornings and deferring to the veterans. Now you become the older statesman, you know the offense, you know the defensive rotation, you know the short-hand and you know the coaching staff. It gives you a chance to take on more of a leadership role and it allows you to be more aggressive. Once you play 75 games at the NBA level and scored 39 points on National television, Summer League becomes just a game. Thatís what we want Ė we want them to get into that mindset where they get dressed and go play.
Were there any standouts or surprises?
Neil Olshey: I think DeAndre Jordan surprised a lot of people at Summer League. He kind of got away from what he did really well while he was at Texas A&M. They had a veteran team and he didnít play as many minutes as a lot of the other rookies. I think his slipping into the second round of the Draft had people questioning his talent level. That was answered shortly into Summer League when he was blocking shots at the top of the box, catching lobs and running the floor. He got back to all of the things he did when people had him rated as a lottery pick for most of the season. Thatís who they saw on the court, so that was a pleasant surprise. I think other teams were a little bit shocked by it, but for us it was just an affirmation of what we already knew.
How is Eric Gordon doing since the hamstring injury?
Neil Olshey: Eric is good. During the pre-draft process, Eric didnít do a lot of live workouts. He only worked out for four NBA teams, he really only worked out one-on-one and he didnít play any full courts for fear of injury. He basically went from the end of his season at Indiana in March and really didnít play a full court game until Summer League practice. His hamstring just tightened up on him. We played three games in three nights and he just tweaked it a little bit and it was just safer not to play him. Heíll be fine, heís got another week or two where it will be a little bit tender, but heís already back in the gym and working out. Heís more than ready for Training Camp.
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