CLIPPERS.COM MONTHLY MAILBAG, OCTOBER 2013
Clippers legendary broadcaster Ralph Lawler answers your questions about the Clippers and the NBA in the October edition of the Clippers.com Mailbag. Submit your question here or use the hashtag #LACMailBag to do so on Twitter.
Note: We reserve the right to edit your question for the sake of brevity or clarity.
Juan Davila: Hello Ralph, so glad you are back this year! Do you consider the Los Angeles Clippers contenders for the NBA title this year? Many NBA analysts insist that the Clippers needed to add a defensive big man to be considered as such. What's your take?
Invite those "NBA analysts" to watch DeAndre Jordan, please. He blocked 10 shots and changed countless others in the first two preseason games in fewer than 24 minutes per game. Simply put, the Clippers DID add a defensive big man and his initials are D.J. There is no doubt in my mind the Clippers are title contenders. They are right there with San Antonio, Houston and OKC in the West and Miami, Chicago, Indiana and Brooklyn in the East. One of those teams will win it all. Injuries, luck and peaking at the right time will all play a part, but the Clippers are in the mix, for sure.
Ryan Miller (@rymillerr): With the new focus on defense, what is your new catch phrase going to be for big steals and/or blocks?
I never plan for any such phrases. Sometimes they just happen, so we'll have to wait and see. No question, though, that this will be a much improved team at the defensive end of the court.
George Garcia (@ggarcia1217): Do you think Chris Paul is a future Hall of Famer?
It's a little early in his career for that, but I think the career path he's on has Hall of Fame written all over it. Add a few deep playoff runs into the mix and maybe an NBA title and it becomes a no-brainer.
TFP (@TFPWillEat): Hi Ralph, I always see you walking around Staples before home games holding a beverage. What’s in the cup?
It is usually coffee with a mix of mocha. If I am battling a cold, it might be hot tea with honey.
Kenneth Armstrong (@ClipperKenny115): Better dunk to watch live: Blake Griffin over Kendrick Perkins from Jan. 2012 or DeAndre Jordan over Brandon Knight from Mar. 2013. I personally liked Blake’s better.
DJ's over Knight might be as good as any I've ever seen. I’m not sure the dunk over Perkins was even Blake's best. Don't forget he had the Mosgov and the Gallinari during his rookie season.
Robbie Mason: Hey Ralph, are the Clippers going to run the pick-and-roll offense of Alvin Gentry that got Amar’e Stoudemire and Steve Nash and the rest of Phoenix deep in the Playoffs? Or is Doc Rivers going to put his offense of running through a big man into play?
It appears as if it will be largely the Phoenix/Gentry offense with some of Doc's Boston offense here & there as "sugar and spice." It is still early and this is a work in progress. My guess is you will see a lot of Gentry at the offensive end and a lot of Rivers at the defensive end. That's a pretty lethal combination.
Xavier Martin (@NBA_fanbase): How will Darren Collison be able to fill Eric Bledsoe's void as the backup point guard? Do you think he can bring the same type of impact from the bench? Truly appreciate your work, Ralph!
I think Collison will be better offensively (and surely more consistent), but will be unlikely to match Bledsoe's defensive intensity. That being said, Darren will fit in very well with Doc Rivers’ defensive team concepts. I think his signing was one of the most underrated of the summer.
Josh Bonnar: Hey Ralph, how do feel about the updated Finals setup with the 2-2-1-1-1 format?
About time! I've hated that the higher seeded team had to play three of the first five on the road and might never have a chance to even experience the so-called home-court "advantage" if they dropped Game 1 or 2 at home. The 2-2-1-1-1 format is perfect. There are plenty of dollars floating around in the league to pay for the cross-country travel and the travel effects are equal for each team.
Michael Porter: With so much attention given to signing and re-signings. I feel that Jamal Crawford has almost been forgotten about this offseason. We are talking about a player that went from All-Star snub, to not playing in the entire second half of Game 6 vs. Memphis. Do you have any idea how he stands with the new staff and what to expect from him next year?
The staff simply expects more of the same from Jamal, and I'm sure they'll get it. He worked very hard in the offseason and is ready for a big contribution. He'll have to do less of the hard, creative one-on-one work and will be getting easier looks at good shots, I think.