At the end of last season, Clipper management met with VIP season ticket holders and promised them that this season the team would be more “uptempo”, apparently in an effort to assuage the mounting frustration with Coach Dunleavy.
There is no longer any doubt that Coach Dunleavy is staying. We also know from past experience (i.e. statements during the euphoria around this time last year when Baron Davis was signed) that there is a big difference between saying you can coach a running offense and actually doing it, or at least attempting to do it with your heart in it. We spent last year for the most part watching the same half-court iso stuff Dunleavy has usually favored. Any type of high octane offense built around Baron’s game went out the window with Baron’s injuries and/or slide into mediocrity, and Dunleavy’s decision to bring in Randolph to replace Brand in the supposedly 6,000 or so plays in his playbook, all of which seem to feature dumping the ball to a post player (Randolph or Brand) for an iso match up.
The trade of Randolph would seem to indicate that the Clippers may well be serious about an up tempo offense this season. By trading Randolph, MDsr has given up his one dependable iso guy. He can have the ball go down to Kaman, but Kaman will insist on bouncing it once or twice before going up, and probably lose it in the process (At one of the Clipper Coaches clinics, an assistant Coach just shook his head in woe when asked why Kaman insists on putting the ball on the floor and said if anyone had any suggestions they’d love to hear them). Or they can get it to Al, who will likely nearly dribble out the clock before deciding to go up for a jump shop in the 10.0 degree of difficulty category.
Letting go of Randolph, while retaining Kaman - who Dunlevary likes to point out is a pretty quick center who can get up and down the court and play defense - seems to indicate the Coach does have running on his mind. This is particularly so since reports have it that DTS was actually against the Randolph trade, and the trade was thus not about saving money. Reports say DTS would only agree to the Randolph trade if it was based on basketball, not fiscal, sense. The only basketball sense that can seemingly be made of it is that the Clippers are trying to reinvent themselves as a running, up tempo team to feature the talents of their number 1 draft pick (who cannot only post but also run) and a certain highly paid point guard who prefers a running approach. Kaman fits well with this approach. And this is what was promised to the VIP season ticket holders. Did they really mean it when they first said it? Or was getting Blake the impetus? Don’t know, but it appears about to come true.
A team can always be reinvented of course - it’s a matter of just assembling the right pieces for what you’re trying to do. But since MDsr is both the Coach and GM here, he’s the one doing the re-inventing. And it seems to truly re-invent the Clippers, he’s got to re-invent himself. Can an old dog learn new tricks?