JAMISON: ‘THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PRESEASON’
PHOENIX – Veteran Antawn Jamison has been through more preseasons than Chris Paul and Blake Griffin combined.
Fewer than a dozen active players have appeared in more regular season games. He knows all about the grind, the feeling of “just trying to get preseason over with.”
But with the Clippers’ 2013-14 opener two weeks away, Jamison also knows how important his 16th preseason is.
“This is an important preseason,” Jamison said Monday at shoot-around in Sacramento. “It’s important for us to prove from game-to-game and practice that we’re all on one accord.”
Through three games so far the Clippers (2-1) have made strides in that direction. With eight players in camp who were not on the roster last season and a new coaching staff, it has been well documented that the Clippers are trying to fast forward the learning curve. But what cannot be rushed is the on-court chemistry and timing.
“You look at the difference between us, San Antonio, OKC, Miami, it’s that those guys have been together for a while and their chemistry is on point,” Jamison said. “The biggest thing for us is that this team had chemistry before and I think incorporating the new guys, is how quickly we can get on one accord. That would be the normal question, but incorporating a whole different system, a whole different mindset is extra. Can we get it? So far, defensively guys have been on one accord and offensively guys are being unselfish.”
It is a balancing act to some degree when the games don’t count. Griffin, Paul and DeAndre Jordan sat out in Sacramento and Jamison is expected to rest Tuesday in Phoenix. However, there’s a difference between games not counting and games not mattering.
By resting the team’s biggest stars, Head Coach Doc Rivers said he wanted to help the rest of the team find their own way and “learn to win without those guys.” Point guard Darren Collison has been adamant that it is important to win in the preseason, especially considering the stakes the Clippers will face once they tipoff on Oct. 29.
“We can’t have any lapses,” he reiterated Saturday. “I know it’s just preseason but at the same time we want to stay consistent.”
Jamison, Collison as well as the rest of the new members of the roster are well aware that the Clippers had a close-knit group last season. There is an impetus on trying to fit in, or at least avoid disrupting that chemistry, while also forming their own identity under Rivers.
“For the new guys, Darren [Collison], myself, [Byron] Mullens, we’re trying to make sure that we come in and keep the chemistry going pretty high like it was last year with this team,” Jamison said. “As a team, as a whole, making sure we get everything down pat and making sure when something’s called we know exactly where we need to be and know exactly what we need to do.
“These eight preseason games and this whole month of practices are pretty much preparing us for those situations. It’s kind of a unique situation. Most guys are just trying to get back into the thick of things and get back in the flow, but for us it’s doing that, getting our timing down on the court, and also getting all the nuances that we’re trying to accomplish on both ends of the floor as well.”