DAY 3: PLENTY OF FIREPOWER AT SHOOTING GUARD
LA JOLLA – One of the most noticeable luxuries the Clippers have on the roster is their depth at shooting guard.
J.J. Redick will likely start at shooting guard with Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Jamal Crawford once again heading up the second unit. In addition, the team also boasts Willie Green, who started 60 games last year, and rookie first round pick Reggie Bullock, who sat out again Thursday with a sore knee.
While Green and Bullock add depth, there is little question that Redick and Crawford will earn a bulk of the minutes next to Chris Paul and Darren Collison in the backcourt. Through three days of training camp at UC San Diego the duo has seemingly been as competitive as anyone on the court.
According to Redick, pushing each other is a good thing.
“I always enjoy competition,” Redick said following the Clippers’ only practice of Thursday after back-to-back two-a-days. “And I think going against him every day and him going against me, we’ll make each other better.”
Both Redick and Crawford were dynamic players off the bench last season. Redick scored a career-high 14.1 points per game between the Magic and Bucks. Crawford averaged 16.5 points, second most in the league among full-time reserves and third most on the Clippers. The two also combined for 314 3-pointers.
“I think J.J.’s a great shooter, one of the best shooters in the league,” Crawford said. “So, whenever you have him on the court it basically takes a defender away, you can’t help off of him. I think doing that gets space for myself, Blake [Griffin] and Chris [Paul] to go to work.”
Redick shares respect for Crawford as well.
“He’s a very unique player with his ability to create for himself off the dribble,” Redick said. “There are very few players like him.”
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers does not necessarily envision Crawford and Redick sharing the court often. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Rivers has long said he is in favor of utilizing a small lineup when he can and when it comes to his high-scoring guards it will boil down to matchups.
“If we are in one of those shoot ‘em out games, sometimes you’ve got to go shoot ‘em out and do it,” Rivers said.
The drawback would seemingly being undersized on the defensive end with either Crawford or Redick slotted as the small forward. But Redick thinks Rivers’ defensive scheme could help limit that potential problem.
“Our team defense is predicated on team defense,” Redick said. “Even if the matchups aren’t necessarily favorable I think if we stick to our principles there are going to be nights where we can play together.”
One of the points of emphasis for Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has been making sure the team is practicing with what he has called “playoff intensity.”
Redick talked about that briefly Thursday afternoon.
“I think anytime you have expectations for your team and for yourself and you have goals that you want to accomplish you can’t overlook the small stuff and the baby steps,” Redick said. “You’re not going to win a second-round playoff series in October, but the attention to detail we’ve had has been good. Any time it’s slipped, we’ve all responded.”
RIVERS ON GREEN
“Willie’s one of those guys you want to keep on your team at all costs if you can because he’s such a great teammate,” Rivers said. “There’s a lot of value in that. He’ll be important for us through adversity. And you’re going to face adversity at some point and when that happens you’re going to love having Willie Green in your locker room.”