Mike Dunleavy's offensive sets are beginning to wear on me. Just imagine how the players feel.
Looking lost for most of the game, the Clippers struggled to score, going minutes at a time without a field goal made, much less a good shot taken. Time and time again, the Clippers as a whole looked bewildered as to where they were supposed to be or where they should be going.
Nowhere was the familar scene of a point guard shouting to teammates to get in position. Instead, a recycling series of dumping the ball into Tim Thomas or sophmore Al Thornton and hoping for a miraculous turnaround jumpshot.
Sure you could argue that this team is new, it's nucleus still a mish mash of talent waiting to explode. But my problem is that, as an avid Clipper fan I never liked Dunleavy's offense even when they had a full squad of players with experience running his plays.
They always seemed to be "Dump the ball to Brand, everyone else clear out and let's watch him make an awesome 14 foot turnaround jumpshot." His offense never seemed to feature enough movement, enough cutting. Where were the pick and rolls? Where are the penetrate and dish plays?
Sure, there were glimpses of those from time to time. Especially when Cassel or Livingston was allowed the freedom to do so. But for the most part the offense is stagnant and extremely predictable.
The Staples Center was groaning Monday night, at least in Section 116, everytime the ball went into the post, never to be seen again. Too many rear-end back downs with needless dribbling leading only to Utah steals.
Even when guards tried to penetrate for layups, they ran into a bumbling Kaman or Thomas. Blocked by their own teammates they threw up wild shots. Airball on a free throw? Not quite but a couple inches more to the left...
In short answer - it depends...on the consistent health of Boom Dizzle and Cambuctious. Yes, I just used their superhero names because that is the kind of effort from both of them that is needed to save this team from nightly humiliation.
They need to stay healthy and practice (practice?) with Kaman, Thornton and Thomas.
When Baron, Camby, Kaman, Thomas and Thornton played their first minutes together last night, you could see a tiny, miniscule spark. A 3.5" LCD picture of what this Clipper team could become if they could all get on the same page, running an offense that takes advantage of their individual talents.
Baron got into the paint. Everyone else needs to give him room to operate and have their hands in the ready positions, legs ready to explode upwards for a dunk or alley oop.
Camby hit his jumpshot. Kaman needs to know where he is at all times so he can quickly pass out of double teams to an open Camby. Guards need to run more pick and rolls with him as well.
Kaman was good under the basket. When Baron whipped him a pass underneath, it was an easy jam for Chris. His teammates need to get the ball to him at the right moment. Not when he's 6 to 8 feet out but 5 feet or closer.
Cuttino went 50% from beyond the arc. The Clippers need better perimeter spacing and crisp passing to get the ball from strong side to weak side quickly for better looks for Cuttino more often.
Thornton slashed to the basket ala Corey Magette. However, it seems he is still suffering from "you ain't gonna get no calls, rook" syndrome. He needs to drive even harder to the hole WHILE keeping an eye out for the open man. He'll start getting calls soon...hopefully.
Everyone missed their free throws. 45% from the "charity stripe" will not get it done, especially against a team like Utah who love to foul anyways. Their motto is "foul on every play and the ref has got to miss some." If their opponent is missing from the line, it's even more incentive to grab, jab and bump even more.
I predicted an 0-8 start for the Clippers but if their lackluster effort and Dunleavy's weak offensive schemes continue, look for turkey on your dinner table before the Clippers stop looking like one.
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