As these injury depleted games have gone by, it started occurring to me that the Clippers could very well have TWO teams. One team would be more of a half court team while the other could be more uptempo.
The Half Court Clippers
This team could match up well against bigger/taller opponents. You could even pull Marty or Eric and slide everyone forward against really big teams.
PG: Mardy Collins/Eric Gordon
SG: Eric Gordon/Al Thornton
SF: Al Thonrton/Zach Randolph
PF: Zach Randolph/Marcus Camby
C: Marcus Camby/Chris Kaman
Mardy has shown that he can handle the ball fairly well and his assist numbers have shown that he can get guys easy baskets. His height is an asset on offense as he can usually see over opposing PGs and get passes to the open man. He also has a pretty good spin move to the rim and has shown that he can finish that move. On defense his height also gives him an advantage and he's able to move his feet fairly well.
Eric and Al have shown that they can play successfully in the half court as well, being able to hit jumpshots or drive to the basket. Defense? Eric is proving to be fairly good while many seem to think Al is inconsistent or gets "lost" sometimes. (Which is why Al needs Marcus playing alongside him. I do have to note though, that I have seen him getting a little better at blocks and I don't think he's gotten any bad goaltending calls for at least a week now? He had a couple good rejections tonight so I think he is improving on D...)
Zach is the obvious EB replacement in Dunleavy's half court iso offense. He has a great midrange jumpshot, an uncanny ability to gobble up offensive rebounds and get feathery soft put backs. His defense has been called soft by many, which leads to...
Marcus. Marcus is perfect because he doesn't need to be anywhere near the rim to be an offensive rebounder or an outlet because has has a midrange jumper/set shot which he seems to make half the time. On defense, in the halfcourt and in transition he can make up for the "soft" defense of his backcourt teammates. (He had plenty of training/practice in Enver. Yes that's what many called them. The Enver Nuggets. Cause they had NO "D". Haha. No - I did not come up with that.)
The Uptempo Clippers
PG: Baron Davis/Mike Taylor
SG: Fred Jones/Eric Gordon/Mike Taylor
SF: Eric Gordon/Al Thornton/Ricky Davis
PF: Al Thornton/Steve Novak/Ricky Davis
C: Chris Kaman/DeAndre Jordan
Baron has shown that he can flourish in a more uptempo style and this line up could be just that. We've already talked to death about Baron and his non existent play so far so let's just hope for the best and say that he can still run an uptempo style. In this lineup, Baron could run the fast break and finish in the lane with Fred, Eric, Mike, or Al running with him. Steve Novak would spot up for a three, while Chris or DJ would lag behind for a follow dunk or a rebound on a miss (ala Biedrins).
Fred Jones was a former dunk champion. Many on the team say Mike Taylor is the best dunker on the team. Eric and Al can definitely finish or dunk on a fast break. Let's hope Ricky has found his shot or maybe just hope that he can do better in a more uptempo style with Baron. He had 11 assists the other night and 7 tonight. Could he become Baron's Captian Jack replacement? (Tonight's stats: 15 points, 7 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 three pointers)
Gordon and Novak also have the option to stop at the three point line for a wide open three.
Chris or DJ can come into the offense delayed enough to not crowd the break but in time for a rebound or put back. If the defense sets up they can clear the basket area with three point shooters all around the perimeter. If Kaman or DJ can draw a double team as they head for the rim, that could leave Novak, Gordon, Jones, or Davis wide open.
If the defense with this line up is not good, maybe you switch Camby into this line up, and Kaman into the half court, pushing Z- Bo further away from the basket. Dunleavy made Chris and EB work so I don't think it'll be too hard to make Chris and Z-Bo just as effective. I think Camby might be the best choice at C when playing against smaller, running teams.
Jason Hart - seems like a nice guy, but has the luck/shooting of Q Ross....
Brian Skinner - a decent backup that should be ready to go if Kaman, Camby, Randolph go down
Cheik Samb - definitely a project/backup for now
What do you think?
I know this whole concept was brought up before when this team was first constructed and especially since the acquisition of Zach. But it's only in the last couple of weeks, where I have seen the heart and determination of our rookies and bench guys that I believe that the Clippers could be really good in BOTH the half court AND run.
Mardy has been great. Fred Jones has been awesome as a late emergency addition. We've seen flashes of what he can still do. Hopefully more playing time and practice will make him even better. Ricky Davis seems to be on an upward trend. DeAndre may be inconsistent on offense but he's already showing that he can rebound and block, and there's nothing wrong with him trying to dunk everything, at least in my book. Dwight and Amare were mostly dunkers too when they first came in the league. Hopefully DeAndre can follow in their footsteps and add to his game as time goes by.
They may have been losing but I really like what I have been seeing. I really think the Clippers have the potential to be awesome by the end of this season.