Posted: September 3, 2013
Continuing our game-by-game look at the PHILA BIG Game Plan, we set our sights on the Sixers’ December 9 meeting with the Los Angeles Clippers.
A franchise that has had just four winning seasons since relocating from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1984, the Clippers have long lived in the shadow of the Lakers, who have had just three losing seasons since ’84 and have won eight championships during that stretch. Now the tables are turned.
After two consecutive .600-plus seasons, the Clippers return this season with some extra firepower off the bench and a new head coach – Glenn “Doc” Rivers, while the Lakers enter 2013-14 with plenty of question marks surrounding their team.
Clippers’ Key Offseason Moves
The Clippers used the summer of 2013 to reload on the wing, adding sharpshooters J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley. Redick, a 6-4 shooting guard, has steadily improved his all-around game since entering the league as a three-point specialist in 2006. Last season, he became the first player since Tim Hardaway in 1994-95 to notch at least 275 assists and 160 made threes while logging less than 2,500 minutes; he averaged 14.1 points and 3.8 assists last season and is a career 39.0% three-point shooter.
The team also added three-and-d specialist Jared Dudley to a perimeter group that already included defensive specialist Matt Barnes and 2013 Sixth Man of the Year candidate (second place) Jamal Crawford. Last season, the 6-7 swingman attempted just under three and a half threes a game, converting on 39.1% of those shots and finishing 16th in the league in effective field goal percentage (54.7%).
L.A. also added point guard Darren Collison via free agency. This will be the six-foot speedster’s fourth stop in five NBA seasons, having played most recently for the Dallas Mavericks and for the Pacers and Hornets (Pelicans) before that. As a rookie in 2009-10, Collison backed up All-Star point guard Chris Paul in New Orleans; he returns to that role in Los Angeles.
In the frontcourt, the Clippers added former Bobcat Byron Mullens, who posted career highs in points (10.6), rebounds (6.4), and assists (1.5) per game last season. Despite his raw-number improvements, the skilled seven-footer saw his field goal percentage drop from a subpar 42.5% to a dreadful 38.5% last season. He and center Ryan Hollins will serve as the team’s primary backups to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
The Clippers also added swingman Reggie Bullock out of North Carolina with the 25th pick in this year’s draft.
• Last season, the Clippers converted 169 alley-oops, good for tops in the league. The high-flying Miami Heat, by comparison, converted 81.
• While the Clippers are normally associated with flashy and fast-paced offensive play, they actually allowed the fourth-fewest points in the league last season (94.6 per game).
• In 2012-13, L.A. went 56-26. It was the team’s best regular season record in franchise history.