Tag: Blake Griffin

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game One

How did DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul overcome Clippers’ defensive mediocrity to make All-Defensive first team?


All-Defensive team voters must think little of Blake Griffin, Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick and the Clippers’ reserves.

That’s because DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul were voted to the All-Defensive first team despite the Clippers being roughly average defensively.

The lack of faith in the Clippers’ bench is understandable. But Griffin, Barnes and Redick are all capable defenders – not liabilities holding back Jordan and Paul. Considering the Clippers’ starters played together more than any other five-man unit this season, the Clippers’ reserves alone don’t explain the disconnect between the teams’ overall defense and Jordan’s and Paul’s accolades.

The Clippers ranked 15th in defensive rating, allowing 0.1 points fewer per 100 possessions than NBA average. They’re also the 34th team with multiple players on the All-Defensive first team.*

*Counting only players who spent the entire season with an All-Defensive teammate. Dave DeBusschere was trade mid-season to the Knicks in 1968-69, joining Walt Frazier in New York. 

Here’s how each of those 34 teams rated defensively relative to league average that year:


Team All-Defensive first-teamers Defensive rating relative to NBA average
2015 LAC Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan -0.1
2011 BOS Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo -7
2008 SAS Bruce Bowen, Tim Duncan -5.7
2007 SAS Bruce Bowen, Tim Duncan -6.6
2005 SAS Bruce Bowen, Tim Duncan -7.3
1998 CHI Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen -5.2
1997 CHI Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen -4.3
1996 CHI Dennis Rodman, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen -5.8
1995 SAS David Robinson, Dennis Rodman -2.9
1993 DET Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars 0.9
1993 CHI Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen -1.9
1992 DET Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars -2.9
1992 CHI Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen -3.7
1990 DET Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars -4.6
1989 DET Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars -3.1
1988 HOU Hakeem Olajuwon, Rodney McCray -2.3
1987 BOS Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale -1.5
1986 MIL Paul Pressey, Sidney Moncrief -4.5
1985 MIL Paul Pressey, Sidney Moncrief -4.3
1984 PHI Bobby Jones, Maurice Cheeks -3
1983 PHI Bobby Jones, Maurice Cheeks, Moses Malone -3.8
1982 PHI Bobby Jones, Caldwell Jones -3
1981 PHI Bobby Jones, Caldwell Jones -6
1978 POR Bill Walton, Lionel Hollins, Maurice Lucas -3.7
1976 BOS Dave Cowens, John Havlicek, Paul Silas -1.6
1975 BOS John Havlicek, Paul Silas -3
1974 NYK Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier -3
1974 CHI Jerry Sloan, Norm Van Lier -4.1
1973 NYK Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier -4.3
1973 LAL Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain -5
1972 NYK Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier -1.6
1972 LAL Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain -5.3
1971 NYK Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier -3.9
1970 NYK Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier, Willis Reed -6.6

The only worse defensive team to get two players on the All-Defensive first team was the 1992-93 Pistons, who placed Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman despite allowing 0.9 points MORE than league average per 100 possessions.

It was Dumars’ and Rodman’s fourth straight season making the All-Defensive first team together, and Detroit defended very well the prior three. Some of the Pistons’ downturn was due to the Bad Boys aging – and that probably should have applied more to Dumars. This was his last All-Defensive selection. But Isiah Thomas declining rapidly and Terry Mills filling a larger role aren’t the fault of Rodman and Dumars.

Plus, the Pistons played at a vey slow pace. Though they ranked just 15th of 27 teams in points allowed per possession, they ranked seven in points allowed per game.

Jordan and Paul have no such explanations. The Clippers’ core isn’t moving past its prime, and they play at a reasonably fast pace. I didn’t have Paul on my All-Defensive first team, but he’s at least close. Jordan, on the other hand, didn’t stack up favorably to Rudy Gobert, Andrew Bogut, Nerlens Noel and Marc Gasol. Yet, he topped them anyway.

The best rationale I see: Doc Rivers is a heck of a campaigner.

Report: Pelicans get permission, interview Warrior’s assistant Alvin Gentry Monday for coaching position

Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry directs his team against the Boston Celtics in their NBA basketball game in Boston

UPDATE 10:23 pm: The first interview is going to take place on Monday night in San Francisco, according to an update from Adrian Wojnarowski.

This is just the first step in the process. That process will not necessarily move quickly as Gentry is busy helping the Warriors game-plan for the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals. Smart move by the Pelicans to start the process now — and put a little pressure on the Bulls to make their move sooner rather than later.

5:54 pm: Alvin Gentry is going to be a head coach somewhere next season. Deservedly so (we’ll get into that, just keep reading).

The best NBA coaching job open right now is with the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s the best job thanks to two words: Anthony Davis. Three words if you throw in gumbo.

The Pelicans reportedly have been patiently waiting to see how the Tom Thibodeau situation plays out in Chicago — and that could take some time with what the Bulls are asking — so the Pelicans have decided to be proactive and talk to the Warriors’ lead assistant Gentry. So reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

The New Orleans Pelicans have ‎been granted permission to interview Golden State Warriors assistant coach Alvin Gentry for their coaching vacancy, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that Gentry has emerged as one of the leading candidates for the position alongside Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who is widely expected to part company with the Bulls this offseason.

Gentry is the best offensive mind available on the open coaching market. This season he was the right hand to Steve Kerr at Golden State and the guy in charge of putting their offense together — the second most efficient offense in the NBA. The season before that he was the right hand to Doc Rivers in Los Angeles and handled that offense, where he led Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to being the most inefficient offense in the NBA. Gentry runs a modern NBA offense with ball-screens, motion, up-tempo play and plenty of three-point shooting to space the floor.

Yes, Gentry is a “retread” in the sense he has more than 700 games as an NBA head coach and a .475 win percentage. But sometimes guys figure things out as they hang around the game and become better coaches, ones who fit an evolution in the sport. Gentry can be one of those guys.

It’s fun to picture what he could do with Anthony Davis and that offense (especially if Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson are healthy for a full season).

Gentry will have options, he is reportedly near the top of the Denver Nuggets’ list as well. Gentry has said he likes where he is in the Bay Area right now and it would need to be a special situation to lure him away.

The Pelicans may have played too slowly but they were a top-10 offense last season under Monty Williams. They were a bottom 10 defensive team. That’s the end of the floor where improvement is most needed.

Could Gentry help there as well? As much as Thibodeau?

Either way, better to start the process than to be the one standing without a chair when the music stops.

Report: Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan had falling out

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game One

The Clippers need to re-sign DeAndre Jordan.

If they don’t, they’ll likely have only the mid-level exception to find a replacement. For perspective, that netted them Spencer Hawes last season.

Jordan plans to explore the market, including the Mavericks.

That puts pressure on the Clippers. They can offer Jordan more money and, in most cases, a better team.

Potentially not helping? Chris Paul.

Bill Reiter of Fox Sports:

Paul better evaluate whether this is a grudge worth holding – because Jordan has the power here. If he leaves, the Clippers are stuck.

It’d be a shame to waste a season in Paul’s and Blake Griffin’s prime. The Clippers would still probably make the playoffs next season, but they’d be hard-pressed to contend for a title without Jordan. (And make no mistake: Despite their Game 7 loss yesterday, they were among the teams legitimately competing for the 2015 championship.)

Then, when the salary cap jumps in 2016, they could seriously look into upgrading the roster around Paul and Griffin. Playing with those stars will appeal to free agents, but many teams will have flexibility. It’s far from guaranteed the Clippers come out ahead of their competition – and that’d be following a near-certain step back next season.

Winning isn’t everything, but Paul should be going to every length he finds reasonable to make Jordan feel comfortable with him and the Clippers.

Report: Clippers interested in Lakers’ Wesley Johnson

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers

Doc Rivers must upgrade the Clippers’ bench.

Where might he look?

Across the hall.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

The Clippers have interest in Lakers swingman Wes Johnson, according to sources.

Wesley Johnson is exactly the type of player the Clippers should pursue. They have a strong core in Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and – they hope – DeAndre Jordan. They need more solid role players, and Johnson fits the bill.

He’s a 3-and-D combo forward – solid at both skills, though spectacular at neither.  The Clippers need more help at small forward, but a stretch four would give them helpful versatility.

Johnson had a solid season for the Lakers in 2013-14, and that earned him just a minimum contract. He produced at a similar level this season, though proving his consistency could increase his value.

If the Clippers can get him at the minimum, they should do it. If Johnson costs more, they should evaluate other free-agent options. They’ll be over the cap and without the bi-annual exception (given last year to Jordan Farmar). Johnson would help, but not so much that the Clippers should necessarily use a portion of their mid-level exception on him.

Doc Rivers’ halftime message to Clippers: ‘Stop f—ing flopping’

Doc Rivers

In their Game 7 loss to the Rockets, the Clippers fell behind by 15 in the second quarter and trailed by 10 at halftime.

Arash Markazi of ESPN:

Rivers is correct: The Clippers flop too much, and it hurts them on the court. That was hardly their biggest issue yesterday, though it’s still a problem – and a correctable one at that.

But halftime of Game 7 seems like a strange time for Rivers to get righteous about it.

Rivers has explicitly and implicitly approved of his players flopping. When Klay Thompson called out Blake Griffin for flopping last season, Rivers said:

“That’s Klay’s opinion; I don’t really care,” Rivers said Friday. “I just keep looking at what Blake’s done. If he’s flopping, then keep doing it because those numbers look awful good to me. So flop on. That’s the way I look at it. Whatever he’s done this year, I want him to keep doing exactly that. When the votes come for MVP, he’ll be in the top three.

Rivers also spends considerable time lobbying referees for calls, which makes it hard for him to get his players to just play through perceived bad calls.

The Clippers – with Rivers, Griffin and Chris Paul – will probably return the same core next season (give or take DeAndre Jordan). The Rivers/Griffin/Paul trio will set the team’s tone. Hopefully, it involves less flopping and whining to the refs.

For now, though, attention on the Clippers’ flopping is probably good for Rivers. It distracts from the far bigger reason they lost this series – a lack of energy as it closed due to Rivers’ failure to build an adequate bench.