Clippers new acquisitions trying to find their way

LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – The Los Angeles Clippers acquired several new players with the help of the NBA trade deadline and the buyout market. Each player the Clippers acquired were brought in to address a need on the roster.

Players such as Eric Gordon, Mason Plumlee, Bones, Hyland, and Russell Westbrook have been acquired to elevate this Clippers roster and make a push for a championship run. Despite being brought in, their level of play will dictate their roles on a loaded Clippers roster.

“We’re excited to have the new guys come in… pieces that fit our team and our best players and now it is our job to put this team together, it is gonna take some time to figure out rotations, so I’m excited, but it will take time,” said Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue.

Westbrook is the biggest name the Clippers added to their team. Trading away two point guards at the deadline in Reggie Jackson and John Wall, this was a glaring need for the Clippers to fill. Westbrook’s tenure with crosstown rival the Los Angeles Lakers was up and down.

Eventually, Westbrook was traded to the Utah Jazz.  He then bought out his contract to make himself a free agent.

Paul George, one of the Clippers top stars, was the main person that pushed for the Westbrook pickup. In his first game wearing a Clippers uniform, Westbrook showed the fans and his new teammates that he was worth the pickup. Despite a thrilling game which led to a 176-175 double overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings, Westbrook played well, scoring 17 points and totaling 14 assists.

“About what I imagined, that’s the reason I was high on Russ being a part of this team. What he brings, we saw flashes of it tonight,” George said.

In his debut as a Clipper Westbrook looked more like his traditional self and was more comfortable playing around shooters. While his defense still could be a problem, his playmaking will help the Clippers. The game went down to the wire, and Westbrook eventually fouled out in what was a disappointing loss to the Kings.

Other than his debut game, the handful of games played by Westbrook has been solid performances, he is finding a role in the starting lineup as a facilitator, but the Clippers have not fully figured it all out yet.

“Find my way to be able to help other guys is something I truly embrace… all these guys here find out their spots and what they like and don’t like is gonna be a process but I am ready for the challenge,” said Westbrook.

Gordon is another major acquisition the Clippers made. This is his second tenure with the team, and he has had a good journey while away. Being a heavy contributor on different teams in the past several years, Gordon is expected to bring that experience and play to the Clippers.

Gordon is essentially replacing Luke Kennard that was traded from the Clippers. Gordon has better playmaking abilities than Kennard, and while he is not the same level of shooter, he is a much better all-around scorer, which adds a new threat level for the Clippers.

“This is a situation that I wanted to be in and look forward to,” Gordon said. “We have a lot of talented guys and I believe I fit the mold of how they play.”

While Gordon would be a sure-fire rotation player for most teams, the presence of Norman Powell, Terence Mann, and even Nic Batum from the bench could cut into playing time. Despite his talent, the Clippers are very deep, and over the past few games Gordon’s shot attempts and minutes have come down to some degree.

Gordon most likely won’t fall out of the rotation, but his consistent minutes could depend on situational matchups, or even if he finds a rhythm.

Plumlee and Bones Hyland were the other two acquisitions made by the Clippers. Plumlee was a big pickup for now the Clippers have a legitimate backup center. Ivica Zubac was the only true rotational big, and he needed help. While Plumlee has some defensive limitations, he can play in situations needed for an extra big, and the pickup has already paid off for Plumlee has been much needed while Zubac has been injured coming out of the NBA All-Star break.

Hyland looked like a solid acquisition, but with the addition of Westbrook, the minutes for Hyland just are not there. Hyland has seen the floor here and there, but his play time is down, and his play style is not fully required considering Mann, Powell, and Gordon can make up for it, while Westbrook is a better facilitator.

With the new acquisitions going to be a big factor for the season moving forward, Clippers star Kawi Leonard agrees it could take a little time, but all they can do is keep playing, pushing for everyone to just be themselves. With the Clippers current struggles, with the season winding down and playoff positioning becoming critical, the new Clipper players and the entire roster need to find their groove.

“New faces on the floor, I wouldn’t say it’s a new season, but we just have to keep going and see what we can do with this new unit,” said Leonard.