Clippers Hope New Additions Make Big Impact

By: Dennis Rogers

The Clippers basketball focus in the offseason was to keep its core in place and add a couple pieces to help advance to the next level in their pursuit for a championship.

For a team that won 57 games, keeping the core was the major positive, but the additions of two former head coaches, one of the brightest young assistant coaches and a big man that can stretch the floor could be the pieces to push them to the next level.

“To tell you the truth, I think we have the best coaching staff in the league and by far the deepest,” Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said. “With Doc, you already have one of the best coaches in the league, then we add two former head coaches in Lawrence Frank and Mike Woodson, plus Sam Cassell. There is so much knowledge out there for us.”

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During the offseason, the Clippers lost Associate Head Coach Alvin Gentry to Golden State, Assistant Coach Tyronne Lue to Cleveland and Player Development Coach Howard Eisley to Washington.

“Anytime you have great people on your staff, teams are going to come in and take them,” Head Coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s natural and it’s a great compliment to our staff. We were fortunate to add the three coaches we did, they are three of the best you could ever get.”

The trio of coaches joins current assistant coaches Armond Hill and Brendan O'Connor as well as assistant player skills coaches JP Clark and Dave Severns on Doc Rivers' bench.

"We have an impressive and experienced group of coaches," Rivers said. "Mike and Lawrence have enjoyed tremendous success as head coaches and Sam is someone who I coached as a player and respected as an assistant with the Wizards. I am excited to continue to work with the entire staff as we prepare for the season."

Cassell joins the Clippers from Washington where he served as an assistant coach for the last five seasons. Frank was a member of Rivers' coaching staff in Boston during the 2010-2011 season and was the head coach of the New Jersey Nets from 2003-2010 and served as head coach of the Detroit Pistons for two seasons (2011-2013). Woodson joins the Clippers with over 18 years of

NBA coaching experience including eight seasons as a head coach with the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks.

One of the most important acquisitions this offseason in the NBA was Spencer Hawes. Hawes, who finished last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, was a sought after free agent who chose the Clippers over many other suitors.

“I am excited to be in Los Angeles,” Hawes said of his new team. “This is the best team I have been a part of on paper. Now I want to come in and help this team which is really on the brink to take the next step. The way that I play can complement the big guys. Their strengths and my strengths will coincide well. Not only is the talent level great, but these guys make it great to be a part of this team.

Hawes gives the Clippers many different options in the frontcourt. He can play both power forward and center positions and also gives them a “stretch big” that is vital in today’s game. The former 10th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft knocked down 45% of his three-point attempts in 27 games with the Cavs last season and should have many open looks with the talent surrounding him on the court.

“This is the deepest frontcourt I have been a part of so far in the NBA,” Clippers forward Blake Griffin said about the additions of Hawes, Epke Udoh and having Glen Davis back. “Our guys can come in and not miss a beat, it is a great feeling to know you have so much talent on the bench.”

The Clippers get to see their new acquisitions in a game setting for the first time on Tuesday when the Clippers take on the Golden State Warriors at 7:30 pm at STAPLES Center.

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