Photo of Reggie Miller

Following the taping of NBA TV’s “Real Training Camp” with the Clippers in San Diego,’s Eric Patten spoke to Hall of Fame shooting guard and TNT analyst Reggie Miller. Here is a transcript of the conversation:

Eric Patten, You saw this team a lot last year. What do you think Doc Rivers brings that helps them perhaps take the next step?

Reggie Miller, TNT: “Well I thought last year they were good defensively. I think bringing in Doc Rivers, they have a chance to be great defensively.  If you want to win a championship, you have to do a lot of the little things, the effort and the sacrifice. Defensively, if they can do those things, they have a chance to take a huge leap. They won 56 games last year but lost in the first round. So this is a chance, if they can improve individually, which it looks like they’re doing. Defensively, they have a chance to go from good to great.”

EP: Is DeAndre Jordan a big factor in that?

RM: “Absolutely. If you look at the success that Doc [Rivers] has had in Boston, obviously he had the luxury of having a Hall of Fame-like Kevin Garnett be the anchor defensively for them. I think he’s looking a lot for DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin to kind of be that Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnet tandem, defensively and communicating, being that last line of defense, blocking shots, rebounding, being an anchor. Those two young guys who have tons more athleticism, tons more length then both of those guys, then yeah, they have a chance to do really, really good.”

EP: Do you feel like this year’s Clippers team will have the most firepower of any team Rivers has had before, considering the shooting they have on the wings and the bench that they may have?

RM: “Well it’s great to have options. Offensively, even though they had Paul Pierce when they won the championship really, they weren’t as potent as having a younger Jamal Crawford, a Chris Paul, you bring in J.J. Redick and [Jared] Dudley, to be able to be floor spacers for them. So, I think he has a lot of options, Doc Rivers does, offensively, because of this team.”

EP: From a distance, how have you seen this turnaround in the Clippers organization in the last few years?

RM: “You know you have to give a lot of credit to ownership and management because in years past, especially in the 90’s, good and great players were drafted here. They’d play two, three, four years, play their first contract and they were usually dealt or not re-signed and would go somewhere else and have flourishing careers. I think ownership and management has looked at the last five, six, seven years and the success being in a Laker Town. Now you’ve got guys that smell success and you look at what they’ve done and having the best point guard, in my opinion, in the game in Chris Paul, an exciting young power forward in Blake Griffin, bringing in one of the top head coaches in Doc Rivers. This is an attractive place to be and I think free agents are starting to see that, hey, it’s just not the Lakers wearing purple and gold, now you can have success playing for the Clippers.”

EP: As a great shooter, seeing all of these guys on the wing, like Redick and Dudley, have to make you smile?

RM: “If I’m Chris Paul, to have options on either wings when you’re running a break, guys that can be flat out, knock down shooters… it’s a good option to have.”

Editor’s note: Transcribed by Aubrey Freckman