Tag: Los Angeles Clippers

Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, Mike Scott

Friday night video fun: Best blocks of 2014-15 season

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It’s Friday night, you can either go to a bar and watch guys get rejected by the cute redhead and her friends, or you can just watch the best rejections of the last NBA season right here. Take your pick.

Nerlens Noel and DeAndre Jordan, of course, have a couple good ones, but my favorites belong to Kemba Walker and Blake Griffin.

Glen Davis: Clippers would have beaten Warriors in Western Conference finals

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors

In reality, the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead to the Rockets in the second round of last year’s playoffs. Houston lost in five games in the Western Conference finals to the Warriors, who won the NBA championship.

In an alternate reality – where the Clippers didn’t blow it against the Rockets – what would have happened in the Western Conference finals?

Glen Davis, who played for the Clippers last season, on CBS Sports Network (hat tip: James Herbert of CBSSports.com):

We would’ve beat Golden State. We would’ve beat Golden State. And I think the reason why is because Blake Griffin. Who’s going to guard Blake Griffin? You got these little 4s, range-shooting 4s. Blake’s 6-9. He’s a true power forward. And then also, he can play around the perimeter. It’s hard to stop that when you’re playing small ball.

I mean, maybe.

But probably not.

The Warriors, an all-time great team, were definitely better than the Clippers. The Clippers were good enough to beat any team in a playoff series with the right breaks, but so what? So are several teams every year. That’s why upsets happen. It doesn’t suddenly make an upset likely.

The Clippers didn’t present a particular matchup problem for Golden State, either. The Warriors won three of four regular-season games between the teams.

Griffin didn’t even present a particular individual matchup problem. Draymond Green is one of the NBA’s best defenders, and he could have guarded Griffin as well as anybody can. Yes, Griffin scored 40 points in a regular-season game against Golden State – but Green didn’t play. Griffin shot just 33% while Green was on the court last season (63% against the Warriors without Green playing). Yes, the 6-foot-7 Green is smaller than the 6-foot-10 Griffin. Yes, Green shoots 3-pointers. But Green is perfectly capable of defending big men. Griffin wouldn’t have intimidated him.

And the Clippers lost to Houston in part because they ran out of gas. The Clippers had a weak bench and had to rely too much on their starters. Even if they avoided a total collapse against the Rockets and won one of the series’ final three games, the Clippers would have faced the same fatigue issue in the next round. In fact, it likely would have been worse.

So why would Davis say this? Well, he’s a still a free agent and probably wants the Clippers to re-sign him. Flattering a would-be employer might help.

That, at least, is logical.

Martell Webster as stretch four? Wizards may try it next season.

Washington Wizards v Cleveland Cavaliers
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When the Washington Wizards tip-off next season, they will have Marcin Gortat at center and Nene at power forward.

But their moves this summer show that when one of those two sits (specifically Nene) the Wizards will embrace going small, as they did last playoffs when they blistered the Raptors in the first round. (Small-ball was less effective against the Hawks.) Washington let Kevin Seraphin walk to the Knicks this summer and replaced him with guys like Jared Dudley, a stretch four. (Paul Pierce left, but it was Otto Porter’s time.)

What about Martell Webster?

He may play some stretch four, too. But he is going to have to earn those minutes, notes J. Michael at CSNmidatlantic.com.

Webster played some (at the four) when he began his career with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Wizards have floated the  possibility of using him there when — if? — he can work his way back onto the court.

The challenge, of course, will be cracking the rotation that already has Drew Gooden, Jared Dudley and Alan Anderson expecting to log a majority of the time there behind Nene when the Wizards go to small-ball lineups.  Webster, who is 6-7, played in just 32 games last season which was his least since the 2008-09 season. It also was the first time since then that Webster didn’t log a start.

The challenge for Webster — and the Wizards as a whole — going small is on the defensive end. As Matt Moore pointed out in an interesting piece at CBSSports.com, the Wizards three-point shooting and offense was much better when they went small, but the Hawks defense neutralized that somewhat. Worse yet the small ball Wizards simply tried to outscore teams, their defense suffered. That can sometimes work, against certain lineups, but it is not a long-term solution. Look at it this way, the Warriors are champions because they can go small without sacrificing defensively (thanks to Draymond Green — that’s why he’s getting paid more than you, Tristan). That is hard to replicate.

Webster is going to have to stay healthy then actually knock down threes to see the court as a stretch four — you don’t help space the floor if nobody respects you from three.

But as the Wizards go small more often — at least we expect Randy Wittman to go small more — Webster will get a chance to prove he has a role with the team, and in a small-ball NBA.


Blake Griffin says 66 games is the ideal length for an NBA season

Blake Griffin

The debate over how long the NBA season should be is a complicated one. It’s highly unlikely that it will be shortened from 82 anytime soon, because neither the players nor the owners want to give up the revenue from extra games. But as the league makes an effort to cut down on back-to-backs and four-games-in-five-nights stretches in the regular-season schedule, it’s a discussion that isn’t going away.

CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger asked a handful of players about it at Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas last week, and most of them supported keeping the schedule at 82 games. But Blake Griffin argued that 66 is the ideal length:

Sixty-six, spread over the same amount of time [as the current 82-game season]. Fatigue and injuries, and better product. If you have less games, less back-to-backs, the product’s better. The fans will appreciate it more. You see those college guys playing so hard, but they play 36 games in the same amount of time we play 82 almost. I just think it would be a better product.

Cutting 16 games from the schedule would eliminate most if not all of the back-to-backs that teams currently have to play, but it’s unlikely that it will ever happen, at least not in the next decade or so. In addition to the issue of giving back money, a dramatic cut in the length of the season will make it virtually impossible to compare eras. Season and career statistical records from throughout the NBA’s history will be harder for current players to reach if they have a shorter season.

One solution to the problem of too many back-to-backs that’s been suggested in the past few years that makes a lot of sense is shortening the preseason. Teams currently play between six and eight exhibition games over four weeks, games that don’t count in the standings and only serve to give players more chances to get injured. Cutting the preseason from eight games to four and spreading out the regular season over the last two weeks in October would allow teams to have fewer back-to-backs scheduled while preserving the 82-game structure of the NBA season.

Again, this is all purely hypothetical, but it’s a discussion that’s going to persist as long as there are injuries and back-to-backs.

Report: LaMarcus Aldridge changes agencies, now repped by Excel Sports Management

LaMarcus Aldridge
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Fresh off a four-year, $84 million deal with the Spurs, LaMarcus Aldridge has switched representation. He was the biggest free agent of the summer, and the most high-profile player to change teams. He’s long been a client of Arn Tellem, the influential agent with Wasserman Media Group. But Eurobasket.com’s David Pick reports that Aldridge will now be represented by Excel Sports Management, whose roster features Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and Tyson Chandler:

Back in June, Tellem — whose client list includes Anthony Davis, Al Horford, both Gasol brothers and Brook Lopez — announced he was leaving Wasserman, and the agent world, to take a job with the Pistons on the business side. Aldridge’s defection is the first sign of a ripple effect created by Tellem’s departure. He is an enormously influential agent with deep ties to a lot of players. Now that he’s out of the game, don’t be surprised if more of his clients jump ship from Wasserman over the next year.