Skip to main content

Main content

Print

Rivers, talented Clippers look to shake underachievers tag

It may be now or never for 'Lob City' to realize its potential

POSTED: Oct 13, 2015 10:38 PM ET

By Scott Howard-Cooper

BY Scott Howard-Cooper

NBA.com

AD

From a dramatic postseason (great win over San Antonio, brutal loss to Houston) to a dramatic turnaround in the offseason (DeAndre Jordan and How Not To Be a Free Agent) to what surely will be a dramatic new season. It has to be. The Clippers don't do quiet.

ICYMI

Jordan re-signed. You may have heard something about it. ... GM Doc Rivers invested heavily in veterans in the latest attempt to upgrade the bench for coach Doc Rivers, adding Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson and Wesley Johnson. ... The Warriors' title will likely increase the rivalry, even though the teams did not meet in the 2015 playoffs. Call it a ripple effect of the new Golden State spotlight.

THREE POINTS

1. Jordan may have become the object of ridicule for his Dallas-to-L.A. flip-flop, but do not forget why there was such a hot pursuit in the first place. He is a difference maker as a defender and rebounder, not to mention an ideal fit for the Clippers as someone who impacts without taking shots away from Chris Paul or Blake Griffin.

2. This isn't just a Pierce-Rivers reunion. It's an overall homecoming for Pierce as well, with the Clippers hoping the familiar coach and familiar territory will add to the longevity of the Inglewood, Calif., native.

3. It will be interesting to see whether the Clippers use the crash-and-burn against the Rockets in the second round of the playoffs as searing motivation or dismiss it as a moment from the past that has nothing to do with 2015-16. But they need to find some way to deal with playoff pressures better than the past couple years.

MAN ON THE SPOT

This is Rivers' third season as coach and head of basketball operations. Time to deliver more than a spot in the second round.

STARTING FIVE

Chris Paul | 19.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 10.2 apg
Still one of the best, but with a lot to prove.

J.J. Redick |16.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.8 apg
A big contributor when healthy and making 3s.

DeAndre Jordan | 11.5 ppg, 15.0 rpg, 0.7 apg
Leading rebounder in the league each of the last two seasons.

Paul Pierce | 11.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.0 apg
On his fourth team in four seasons.

Blake Griffin | 21.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 5.3 apg
Five consecutive All-Star appearances.

KEY RESERVES

Jamal Crawford | 15.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.5 apg
Two-time Sixth Man of the Year

Austin Rivers | 7.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.7 apg
Averaged 19.3 minutes in 41 games as a Clipper last season.

Lance Stephenson | 8.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.9 apg
Needs a big response after a season as a bad fit in Charlotte.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Still the Clippers after all these years, they have a roster that can win a title and the track record of an underachiever. Neither outcome in 2015-16 would be a surprise.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.