So, when Bill Plaschke writes a Clippers column two weeks into the season, is it a good thing or a bad thing? The inclusion of lines like "all that glitters is cold" would seem to indicate the latter, but that may just be my own preference for writing that doesn't suck.
Conflicts between Baron Davis and Mike Dunleavy Sr., between the improvisational point guard and the rigid coach, were much anticipated since Baron's signing was announced on July 1. Plaschke for the first time, puts some substance around the hypothesis.
There are several interesting quotes. MDsr spends some of his basketball capital by invoking Magic Johnson, whom he coached to the NBA Finals - a wise move considering Magic is one of Baron's heroes. "I talked to him a lot about Magic Johnson, and how he worked within a system to lift everyone up around him. I am convinced Baron is that same type of player."
Baron admits to some frustrations - frustrations that all of us in Clips Nation can share, as when he says: "It's like every time we come down the floor, everyone is trying to figure out the play, and by the time I get it called out and everyone knows it, there is eight seconds left on the shot clock. It takes away some of our instincts."
How many times have I written in this space about the Clippers making the first entry pass of their set with fewer than 10 seconds on the clock? It's been a big problem for the Clippers in the MDsr era.
Still, it's way too early to be overly concerned about this issue. The Clippers 1-6 start has little or nothing to do with a disconnect between the point guard and the coach and everything to do with an undermanned team playing poorly against superior opposition. If anything, I am encouraged by signs of progress in their relationship manifested in 103 points scored in the win against Dallas.
MDsr has said he'll run more this year - hopefully that's not just talk, because the personnel is well-suited to a faster pace. On the other hand, Baron has never played on a team with a low post presence, and he would indeed be wise to adjust his approach when the fast break is not available. So as Chris Kaman, the voice of reason in the column, points out, the answer is a compromise between the respective styles. I don't think this is news; nor does either party seem resistant to the idea, at least in theory.
After missing most of camp, only seven games into the season, in a new and different system, it's not surprising in the least that Baron would be part of some dysfunctional offensive possessions. Keep working on it, keep communicating, and it will improve on a daily basis.
As for the column, I'm thinking it's a good thing that Plashcke is aware of the Clippers this early in the season. Let's just hope Simers doesn't start writing about them.