Tag: Spencer Hawes

Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs

PBT First Round Playoff Previews: Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs



Clippers: 56-26 (third place in Western Conference)
Spurs: 55-27 (sixth place in Western Conference)
Season series tied 2-2


Clippers: No significant injuries

Spurs: Tiago Splitter is battling a calf injury, he practiced with team Friday but will be limited (this matters, Splitter is a good defender on Blake Griffin). Matt Bonner has a calf injury, missed the final game of the season and may miss the start of the series.


Clippers: 109.8 points scored per 100 possessions (1st in NBA); 103 points allowed per 100 possessions (15th in NBA).
Spurs: 106.2 points scored per 100 possessions (7th in NBA); 99.6 points allowed per 100 possessions (3rd in NBA).


1) Chris Paul vs. Kawhi Leonard. Gregg Popovich is not going to use the best on-ball defender in the league on CP3 exclusively, but when it gets to crunch time in games you can expect this matchup. We didn’t see this much in the regular season; the teams didn’t play after mid-February, so the Clippers didn’t see dominant late-season Leonard. Chris Paul is smart and efficient setting up the Clippers offense, but Leonard’s length and athleticism give every player he guards trouble. It’s a huge question for this series: Can CP3 be CP3 late in games with Leonard blanketing him? If this takes the ball out of his hands, can the other Clippers effectively orchestrate the offense? This is going to be a joy to watch unfold.

2) Hack-a-Jordan. Personally, I prefer the term “hack-the-DJ,hack-the-DJ” sung to the tune of the Smith’s “Panic.”

This should be the best first-round series in the land, and it will be marred at times by Gregg Popovich ordering fouls on DeAndre Jordan, who shot 39.7 percent from the line this season. The last times these teams met Jordan took 26 free throws because of the strategy (he hit 10). More than just the missed free throws, for the Spurs this works because it disrupts and stalls the best offense in the NBA. Then eventually Rivers is forced to sit Jordan and replace him with a lesser player (Glen Davis or Spencer Hawes). It’s also just painful to watch. Having to suffer through this on what will be a much-watched first-round series is maybe the impetus to force a rule change, but not in time for this series. If it works, you can be sure the ruthless Popovich will go to it over and over.

3) Clippers lack of depth vs. Spurs bench. Doc Rivers tried to fill out the Clippers’ bench this season, he went out and got Spencer Hawes and Hedo Turkoglu, they tried guys like Jordan Farmar and Austin Rivers. None of it worked well. Jamal Crawford remains a quality sixth man, but that’s where the rotation stops. Because of that Rivers leans on his starters heavily — the Clippers starting five was the most used lineup in the NBA by more than 300 minutes (that despite Blake Griffin missing 15 games). Meanwhile, the Spurs’ bench is a Swiss Army Knife that Popovich can unfold in a variety of ways, depending on what the matchup calls for. He trusts Marco Belinelli, Patty Mills, Matt Bonner, and the rest to make plays if their number gets called. And they do. What this gives Popovich is more pieces on the chess board to move around and try to exploit specific situations and match ups. That versatility will be key for San Antonio as the series moves on, and Rivers may not have the players to counter Pop’s moves.


This is not a first-round matchup, this is a conference finals level matchup — the Clippers and Spurs were second and third in the league respectively in point differential per 100 possessions. These are two of the NBA’s top five teams by any reasonable measure, and yet one team will not even make the second round. (This is also Golden State’s dream scenario, let these two challengers beat each other up and avoid either one until the conference finals.) This is clearly the best first round series this year.

The Clippers are an excellent team, but I think Doc Rivers the GM will have tied Doc Rivers’ the coach’s hands too much. The lack of depth leads to a lack of versatility that is the strength of the Spurs. Then there’s the fact the Clippers’ defense isn’t great — they play an aggressive, Heat-style trapping defense, but not as well and it can be exploited with ball movement. Add it all up and you’re left with a Los Angeles side that needs to play almost flawlessly to win this series. I don’t think they can do that four times out of seven. It’s going to be physical, hard fought and close, but I’ll take the Spurs in six.

DeAndre Jordan says he won’t ‘be greedy and sign a one-year deal’

Los Angeles Clippers v Sacramento Kings

DeAndre Jordan is looking forward to free agency this summer, and why shouldn’t he?

He’ll be coming off a career season and in line for a max contract .

He plays for a good team, one run by a man who absolutely adores him.

And with the salary cap set to skyrocket in the summer of 2016, teams should be willing to spend this summer.

Jordan will have options galore.

One of them: Signing a one-year deal and waiting to sign long-term until the new national TV contracts kick in the following summer. He says he won’t go that route, though.

Jordan, via Arash Markazi of ESPN:

“I’m not going to be greedy and sign a one-year deal,” Jordan said. “Nah. I’m just focused on getting it over with and focusing on playing again. I’m just trying to win here.”

Here’s a projection of how much Jordan would earn by:

  • Signing a five-year max contract with the Clippers this summer (blue)
  • Signing a one-year max contract with the Clippers and then re-signing for the five-year max in 2016 (red)


Year Five-year max One-year max + Five-year max
2016 $19,027,800 $19,027,800
2017 $20,454,885 $25,252,803
2018 $21,881,970 $27,146,763
2019 $23,309,055 $29,040,723
2020 $24,736,140 $30,934,683
2021 $32,828,643
Total $109,409,850 $164,231,415
Average $21,881,970 $27,371,903

Signing a one-year deal this summer could obviously be much more lucrative for Jordan.

However, there are other factors to consider.

Most notably, Jordan might not draw a max offer in 2016. He could get hurt or his production could slip. Taking the money now is definitely the safest route.

Jordan would also be in line for a new contract at age 31 rather than age 32 by signing a five-year deal this summer. Obviously, many variables will come into play between now and then. But the odds definitely favor Jordan being worth more at 31 than 32.

While Jordan’s decision comes down to his priorities, this is a more clear win for the Clippers (at least if they re-sign Jordan).

They already have major money committed to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin through 2018, and J.J. Redick and Spencer Hawes have decent-sized contracts that run two and three more years, respectively. Plus, cap hits for the waived Jordan Farmar, Carlos Delfino and Miroslav Raduljica add up.

Long story short, if the Clippers had to worry about paying Jordan new-TV max money, it could take them deep into the luxury tax. Locking him up on an old-TV deal limits their risk.

Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan says he’s going to look around in free agency

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks

Doc Rivers’ Clippers have been good to DeAndre Jordan. Rivers has pumped up Jordan and tried to fill him with confidence since the say he walked in the door, trying to build back up what Vinny Del Negro had spent years tearing down. It’s to the point where Rivers vehemently overstates Jordan’s case for Defensive Player of the Year.

But that is not necessarily buying the Clippers a lot of loyalty when Jordan becomes a free agent this summer. Jordan wants to enjoy the experience and look around a little.

That’s what he told Sam Amick of the USA Today in a podcast.

“I mean I’ve obviously been here seven years, and the past two have been great,” he said. “Doc (Clippers coach Doc Rivers) has been my biggest supporter and the best coach I’ve ever had. The team is great. The guys are great. We have great camaraderie. But the free agency process is definitely going to be a fun one.”

Jordan may flirt with other teams, there will be demand for his services, but expect him to remain a Clipper — and for Los Angeles to overpay a little to keep him.

The reality is the Clippers need his rebounding (14.8 a game this season), his play in the paint (shooting 71.8 percent), and his rim protecting shot blocking. More than that they can’t replace him if he bolts.

Jordan is making $11.4 million this year, and the Clippers will give him a raise off that number. Why? Because if he leaves the Clippers are still right up against the cap (due to the large salaries for Chris Paul and Blake Griffin), so the best the Clippers could do to replace him would be the mid-level exception. I’m not Jordan’s biggest fan, but the Clippers simply could not get someone close to what Jordan brings for the roughly $5.5 million of the mid-level (remember the Clips spent their mid-level last season on Spencer Hawes, he’s the caliber of player you get). The Clippers need to pay whatever it takes to keep Jordan.

Jordan also is close with Griffin. In the end, he’s almost certainly choose the big money and to keep playing for Doc Rivers.

But he’s going to look around a little.



Blake Griffin to return from 15-game absence Sunday against Rockets

Blake Griffin

Some good news for the Clippers: after a 15-game absence, Blake Griffin will be in the lineup without a minutes limit on Sunday afternoon when they host the Rockets.

Griffin underwent surgery on February 9 to remove a staph infection in his right elbow and has missed the Clippers’ last 15 games recovering. The Clippers have gone 9-6 without him and currently sit at 42-24, fifth place in the Western Conference.

It’s a good sign that Griffin will have no limitations in his return. That means the recovery from staph infections, which can be tricky, went through without a hitch. And that the Clippers will have to play Spencer Hawes, Hedo Turkolgu and Glen Davis fewer minutes.

Doc Rivers’ buyout market plan falls short, leaving Clippers with short bench

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are a very dangerous team with their top six players — Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Jamal Crawford — are healthy and some combination of them is on the court. But go much past that and things start to fall apart. The Clippers lack depth.

Doc Rivers, the team’s coach and GM, planned to help remedy that the same way he did last season — on the buyout market. That’s where they picked up Glen Davis and Danny Granger back then. This time around Doc cleared roster space — that was part of what was behind the Austin Rivers’ trade — and was ready to pounce.

But this year Josh Smith chose Houston. Kendrick Perkins — who played for Rivers in Boston — chose Cleveland. Tayshaun Prince and Kevin Garnett were traded and not bought out.

That left the Clippers with nothing. It left Los Angeles flat-footed in a Western Conference where Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Memphis and others made moves to upgrade their rosters. Rivers tried to put a spin on it, speaking to Arash Markazi of ESPN.

“We like our team,” Rivers said Wednesday. “We actually like our basketball team, and if we could add something that can help that, we will. What people don’t understand is chemistry is so freaking important. Unless it’s somebody you think is going to really change your team, this team was a couple bad plays in Game 6 away from the Western Conference finals last year. We lost some guys and added some guys, but we like our team.”

The real problem was that Rivers’ tied his own hands this summer. He wanted Spencer Hawes and gave him the full mid-level exception to land the reserve big man. In doing so he triggered a hard cap on the Clippers of $4 million more than the luxury tax line, and the Clippers have been within a couple million of that all season. Meaning all they could ever do was offer minimum salary contracts to anyone who came available. It also made it hard to make a trade (not that the Clippers had assets people wanted, aside Crawford) because the Clippers couldn’t take on salary.

That said, I agree with Rivers, I like this team. But I don’t love it. And they don’t seem a team likely to come out of the loaded West.

The Clippers, at 37-21, are currently the six seed in the West. They are just 2.5 games out of the three seed, but they are also just four games up on the hard-charging eight seed Thunder.

This Clipper team has not been as good as the one that made the second round last season. That’s mostly because their defense hasn’t been as tight — they are giving up 104.2 points per 100 possessions, which is 2.1 more than last season. If you don’t think that’s much, it’s the difference between seventh best in the NBA last season and 18th this season. That defense has been better the last few games, but they need to sustain that — and do it with Griffin back in the lineup — before I’m a believer.

They’re just going to have to do it in-house, because there is no help coming.