LOS ANGELES, CA-In with the new. Out with the old. The Los Angeles Clippers gave their old “Lob City” roster a collective boot and have ushered in a new brand of basketball. When the Clippers traded away Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and allowed DeAndre Jordan to depart via free agency, the sense was that the team was going to be in full-blown rebuild mode.
That might be a bit inaccurate. Without the famous namesakes of Paul, Griffin and Jordan, the Clippers still have a pretty decent roster to put out on the floor. It’s only a one-game judgment, but the new-look Clippers seem to have gone in the direction of the Golden State Warriors and the rest of the NBA with the small ball approach detailed with constant movement and crisp passing.
That kind of formula has helped the Warriors win three-straight NBA championships. For the Clippers, this kind of approach makes sense. The “Lob City” concept was a nice and catchy nickname, but it didn’t help Paul, Griffin, Jordan, and the Clippers in their quest to become NBA champions, despite making it to the playoffs six consecutive times.
That era has gone bye-bye. It’s a new dawn and a new time. The new has replaced the old. It happens all the time. For the Clippers, the new is more about floor spacing and what appears to be better ball flow on offense. Isolation basketball has become a thing of the past for Doc Rivers’ team. At least it looks like that way.
One man dribbling out the 24 second-clock has become yesterday news. The Clippers had too much of that the last couple of years. In their second game of the preseason against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center, the new-look Clippers are young, spirited and can get out in transition without a hiccup. Star power, while it helps, doesn’t always equal into mandated success.
The Clippers, obviously, have moved in another direction. Instead of a starting lineup that includes Griffin, Paul, and Jordan, the Clippers’ five starters against the Timberwolves were Patrick Beverly, Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, and Marcin Gortat. And guess what? Those guys are going to be alright.
Beverly, who missed a large portion of the 2017 season after going down with a right knee injury, is back in full pest form, ready to chirp away and get in the face of opponents as he did against Derrick Rose, the Timberwolves’ point guard.
Harris could very well become the team’s Alpha in the scoring department, but with Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and Wesley Johnson coming off the bench as ready to contribute playmakers, it might not matter to Rivers who is the leading scorer on a night-to-night basis.
The Clippers put up 40 points in the first quarter against Minnesota on their way to a 128-101 win at home. By halftime, the Clippers had scored 69 fluid points. Granted, this is just a preseason game and the Clippers were going up against a team coach by Tom Thibodeau, a top defensive strategist in the NBA. But Harris, who led the way for the Clippers with a team-high 23 points, followed by Gallinari’s 22 points, made this one look pretty easy.