Branden Dawson

Frank Vogel to play Aaron Gordon at small forward, go big for defense

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There are a lot of interesting pieces in Orlando along the front line: Serge Ibaka, Nikola Vucevic, Bismack Biyombo, Aaron Gordon, Branden Dawson, and Jeff Green can play some small-ball four as well. There seems to be a lot of skill-set overlap. The question is can all those pieces fit together and turn the Magic into a playoff team?

Frank Vogel is charged with putting the puzzle together.

And he’s going big. Last season Gordon did his best work at the four and spent the majority of his playing time there, but with Ibaka in town he will now be the three, something Vogel confirmed to Adi Joseph at The Sporting News.

“I think positions still matter in today’s NBA. But (Gordon is) comfortable playing both (forward positions). You’re correct in your assessment that he’s going to be playing mostly small forward on this team. That’s something I’m excited about because I’ve always been able to build some really solid defenses, and the foundation of those teams was defensive length and athleticism. This is what we’re going to have with this club, with either Vuc or Bismack Biyombo at the five and Serge Ibaka at the four and Aaron Gordon at the three, you’ve got a really long, athletic front court, which I think is necessary if you want to be a great defensive team.”

Vogel is known as a strong defensive coach after what he did in Indiana, and it makes sense that with the players on this roster the Magic should be a strong defensive team. There are plenty of shot blockers, there is length all over the floor, and in the right system Orlando will get stops.

Can they score is another question. This is where the pieces seem and odd fit, and there may not be enough shooting (outside of Evan Fournier). Gordon was better at the four than the three. Vogel will ask Ibaka to play more inside, Vucevic will need to take steps forward, Gordon must continue on his quick trajectory of growth, and the big question is if Elfrid Payton can run this show at a playoff level? We know what Scott Skiles thought of that idea, we’ll see if Vogel can make it work.

Clippers waive Branden Dawson

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In a cost-cutting move that was widely expected after he didn’t do much in his rookie season, the Clippers have waived 2015 second-round pick Branden Dawson, the team announced on Sunday.

The L.A. Clippers announced today that the team has waived forward Branden Dawson.

Dawson, 23, was selected with the 56th overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans and acquired by the Clippers in a draft night trade in exchange for cash considerations.

Dawson’s $874,636 salary for next season was unguaranteed, so this move will free up a little money for the Clippers to spend. Dawson spent more time in the D-League than he did in the NBA last season, appearing in just six games for the Clippers and playing a total of 29 minutes.

Clippers’ Branden Dawson arrested on domestic violence charges

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LOS ANGELES — Branden Dawson is not with Clippers for the big Sunday showdown with the Cavaliers because was still in a Los Angeles jail, arrested for an alleged domestic abuse incident.

Of course, TMZ broke the story, but other sources have now confirmed the arrest and that Dawson was still in jail as tip-off approached Sunday.

Clippers forward Branden Dawson was arrested for felony domestic violence this morning… TMZ Sports has learned. We’re told he was taken into custody around 8:30 in LA this morning. He’s currently being held on $50,000 bail.

This is a serious charge that hopefully the Clippers and the league treat as such.

Dawson was a second-round pick of the Clippers last June out of Michigan State, and the lightly-used forward has appeared in just three Clippers games. He has played mostly for the Erie Bayhawks of the D-League. He’s shown flashes of quality play there according to reports, but that’s a long way from cracking the Clippers’ rotation.

Dawson’s contract with the Clippers for next season (at less than $1 million) is non-guaranteed.

Clippers win again without Griffin, beating Hawks 85-83

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ATLANTA (AP) — Jamal Crawford scored 21 points and the Los Angeles Clippers won again without Blake Griffin, holding off the mistake-prone Atlanta Hawks 85-83 on Wednesday night.

The Hawks turned it over a season-high 23 times but still had a chance to force overtime when Chris Paul lost the handle on an inbounds pass after Al Horford‘s free throw. Atlanta got it back with 6.7 seconds left and inbounded to Paul Millsap, who drove against Luc Mbah a Moute and got a good look at the basket but came up short on a running one-hander. The horn sounded as the Clippers celebrated their 14th win in 17 games.

Los Angeles won for the second straight night after word leaked that Griffin would be out 4-to-6 weeks, having broken his shooting hand by punching a staff member. He apologized for the incident on Twitter late Tuesday, and his teammates kept on winning.

DeAndre Jordan scored 13 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, foiling the Hawks’ strategy to keep sending him to line by making 6 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter.

Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 16 points.

Both teams looked ragged – not surprising with the Hawks coming off a weeklong West Coast road trip, while the Clippers were finishing up a five-game East Coast run and played the night before at Indiana.

Atlanta shot just 42 percent (33 of 79) and eclipsed its previous high for turnovers, after surrendering the ball 22 times at Indiana on Dec. 28. The Clippers connected on just 39 percent (33 of 85) from the field, including a dismal 5-of-27 showing from behind the 3-point arc.

Chris Paul had 11 points and 10 assists, while J.J. Redick added 12 points.

TIP-INS

Clippers: Coach Doc Rivers considered giving 38-year-old Paul Pierce the night off in the second half of a back-to-back. He wound up starting but played just under 15 minutes, least among the starters, scoring 5 points. He went 23 minutes the night before at Indiana. … Rookie Branden Dawson was inactive. … Los Angeles scored 17 points off Atlanta turnovers.

Hawks: Assigned C Walter “Edy” Tavares to the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League to get some playing time. The rookie has been in nine D-League games this season, averaging 10.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. … Justin Holiday was inactive for the fifth game in a row. … All five starters scored in double figures.

 

Draymond Green texted Clippers when DeAndre Jordan appeared out: You’re done

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Draymond Green‘s dislike of the Clippers isn’t just a publicity stunt to raise his profile and sell t-shirts.

It extends to private conversations – like one with Clippers rookie Branden Dawson, a former Michigan State teammate.

Green struck once it appeared DeAndre Jordan would sign with the Mavericks.

Dawson, via The Beast 980:

When they found out that DeAndre was supposedly leaving, Draymond texts us, he texts in a group message, he said, we’re done. Draymond Green, he’s a trash talker. He’s always going to talk trash, no matter what. I just put, “LOL. We’ll see.”

Green was right. The Clippers would have been done without Jordan – at least for a year. Capped out and with no way to replace their star center, they almost certainly would’ve taken a step back.

But Jordan obviously had a change of heart and re-signed with the Clippers, who have added several talented players like Lance Stephenson, Paul Pierce and Josh Smith. They’re anything but done.

And neither are the Warriors, who look even better so far this season after winning last year’s championship.

That’s what makes this rivalry – including tonight’s game – so fun.