Tag: Jamal Crawford

C.J. Wilcox Los Angeles Clippers Presser and Portraits

Report: Clippers looking to acquire draft pick


The Clippers don’t have a pick in the upcoming draft.

They traded their first-rounder to the Celtics to get Doc Rivers, and they dealt their second-rounder to the Nuggets in 2009 for Cheikh Samb and cash.

Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:


This is a little surprising for a couple reasons.

1. The Clippers are tying to win now, not develop youngsters. Rivers has drafted two players since taking over the Clippers, Reggie Bullock and C.J. Wilcox. Bullock barely played before Doc Rivers gave him away to make room for Austin Rivers. Wilcox remains on the roster and is mostly stuck to the bench.

2. The Clippers lack assets to trade for a 2015 draft pick. They’ve already dealt multiple future picks, and they’re notoriously short on depth. Jamal Crawford is most commonly mentioned in trade rumors, but would the Clippers really deal their only reliable reserve for a rookie?

The one advantage the Clippers have is money. If Steve Ballmer is willing to spend, the Clippers could buy a draft pick.

Brooklyn is in a similar boat – looking to move up in the draft without the basketball assets to do so. Perhaps a cash-hungry team with extra picks – looking at you, 76ers – could leverage the Clippers and Nets into a bidding war.

Steve Kerr: Russell Westbrook flops. Jamal Crawford flops six times per game. Why fine Stephen Curry?

Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors


Stephen Curry got fined $5,000 for flopping in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

What did Warriors coach Steve Kerr think?

Kerr, via Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:

“I am morally outraged,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, with only the tiniest scintilla of jest, after practice Wednesday.

“These plays happen every day,” he added. “I don’t think a game goes by where (Clippers guard) Jamal Crawford doesn’t flop six times on his 3-point shots. It’s part of the game. And I don’t blame him for doing it because a lot of times the refs call it. (Thunder guard) Russell Westbrook does it. Everybody does it. So all of a sudden just randomly to fine Steph just seems kind of strange.”

Kerr makes a good point. The NBA’s flopping fines seem arbitrary, and that’s problematic. How Draymond Green avoided a fine for this is beyond me.

But flopping is bad for the game, and the league should eradicate as best as reasonably possible. Other players flopping doesn’t excuse any flop.

However, I’m hardly convinced Curry flopped – and he defends himself.

Curry, via ESPN:

“Yeah, I don’t agree with it,” Curry said at practice. “I watched the play over and, transition play, so obviously balance is not very good in that situation.”

Curry’s response resonates more with me than Kerr’s

In many cases, the NBA seems to suppose players have perfect balance. It’s unreasonable for the league to just take players at their word, because players will claim they unintentionally fell regardless of their true intent.

But it sure looked like Curry was just off-balance here.

Doc Rivers the GM’s lack of bench doomed Clippers. Can he fix it for next season?

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game Seven

This season’s Los Angeles Clippers were slightly better than last season’s Los Angeles Clippers. It was baby steps. They were incrementally improved — but that was not near enough to live up to the lofty expectations.

The reason they fell short of those expectations was Doc Rivers.

Not the coach — he’s still elite on the bench — but rather Doc Rivers the GM let this team down.

The Clippers much-discussed — and dismissed by Rivers — lack of depth came back to bite them. After a grueling seven-game series against the Spurs, the Clippers wilted as the second round series went on against the Rockets. Los Angeles led Houston 3-1 but were flat and tired for Game 5. In Game 6 they wilted in the fourth quarter and blew a 19-point lead (there were a number of factors in that epic collapse, but fatigue was one of them). They fell behind early in Game 7 and didn’t have the role players stepping up nor energy to complete the comeback. The Clippers would make a push but could not sustain it. The fast pace of Game 7 — 106 possessions according to NBA.com — wore them down.

Throughout the series the Clippers players looked tired and after losing Game 7 they admitted they were exhausted.

That’s all on Rivers. This team’s lack of depth was key to their undoing.

Last summer Paul Pierce had interest in coming to the Clippers, but Doc Rivers spent the full mid-level exception on Spencer Hawes. Rivers’ other signings last summer were Jordan Farmar, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jared Cunningham and Ekpe Udoh. Farmar and Cunningham were waived. Douglas-Roberts was packaged with Reggie Bullock and a 2017 second-round pick to get Austin Rivers (who was terrible most of the regular season but improved to up-and-down in the playoffs).  Rivers signed guys like Dahntay Jones, Jordan Hamilton, and Lester Hudson, but none of them were going to help the bench in any meaningful way.

The Clippers had their starting five and had to hope the younger Rivers, Jamal Crawford (-22 in Game 7) or “Big Baby” Glen Davis would step up. That didn’t happen nearly enough, and an enormous burden fell on the starters.

If the Clippers are going to do anything more than take another baby step forward — one that is likely not enough again — next season they have to get a deeper bench. Well, first they have to make sure free agent DeAndre Jordan doesn’t bolt for Texas, but after that Rivers needs to add some actual bench help to this team.

But Rivers doesn’t have a lot of room to add quality players.

“Contractually, and I don’t think everybody gets that, it’s very difficult (to add players) when you have the contracts we have,” Rivers said after Game 7, referring to the huge contracts of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, plus one coming for Jordan. “Bringing J.J. (Redick) in here was great, but we’ve got to get this team more support. The problem is, with the contracts we’re hinged from, they’re probably doing to be minimum deals for the most part. There’s no big deals we’re going to make, most likely.”

Those large contracts certainly make it harder to put quality players around their stars, but other teams do it. The Rockets have max deals in James Harden and Dwight Howard, but added Trevor Ariza last summer, Josh Smith mid-season (he chose the Rockets over the Clippers and others), and have drafted and developed guys like Terrence Jones.

Rivers is not a cap guy, and maybe bringing in a cap guy he would listen to would help — giving Spencer Hawes the full mid-level put the Clippers under a hard cap that limited their flexibility through the season. The NBA salary cap and tax system is tax-code level complex and unless you want to delve in and understand every nuance, you need to have someone who does and who you listen to.

Steve Ballmer is not about to strip Rivers of his GM powers, but could he persuade Rivers to bring in a co-GM? Someone else that would have final say if there is a divide in the front office? While it’s hard to imagine Ballmer investing so much power in one person in his other businesses, I expect he’ll let Rivers continue to run the entire show for the Clippers. At least for another summer.

And when the Clippers return next summer, the core will look the same.

“I like our group…” Rivers said. “Teams that have stuck it out, on the long run, have done better than teams that blow it up. We’re really close, clearly. Maybe it’s a defensive guy, one more guy; I don’t now yet. Again, it sounds so easy, ‘why don’t you go get him?’ It’s not that easy, in terms of structure. Maybe we can do something, we will do something, but we’re not going to bring in another max guy.”

They don’t need to. But can they find and get the right role players who can turn that next baby step into the leap forward they need to challenge for an NBA title?

It’s all on Doc Rivers the GM to give Doc Rivers the coach the pieces he needs to win.