I have all sorts of little notes on the Clippers ("A Few Thoughts") and I should probably write up a post or two or three, but I can't bring myself to do it, and will fall back into my lazy comment/gibberish mode. Maybe just because it annoys Lucas, maybe because I feel like I can already smell the barbecue down at Joey's/Pegitom's, but I feel bad because SP has been cranking hard for 6 weeks or more now and it's already a long time, he was a little snippy yesterday, and he could use the help. It's easier when the shots go in (9 consecutive 3s, yes it was against Calathes-caloo callay o frabjous day-and Leuwin or whoever the hell those guys were, but still-is that streak still going?) and burying any version of Memphis is satisfying, I don't care. So yeah, a couple of things before I go to yoga.
The main item is the DeAndre Jordan progress report. I want to be positive and Clubbable, but it seems like it's still too much of a mixed bag, and every handful shows both sides. For instance the rebounding numbers look great, and probably the best part of DJ's "new" game is the combination of length and athleticism and how he's simply getting more balls in his hands. One question is why he wasn't a double digit rebounder two, three, four or five years ago, and VDN's mind games are one answer to that question and playing time is a factor, along with general inattentiveness. So in some ways it's not that impressive, although DJ's durability and increasing, extremely high level of fitness is-one reason that his numbers are up is because he's in beastly good shape. Ralph makes a point of noting DJ's endurance streak every game, and it's a good one. On the downside, DJ is getting a whole lot of zhiv offensive rebounds. He has (finally) mastered the Camby back tap (what took so long?), but mentioning Camby reminds us that DJ is still a very long way from being a masterful rebounding machine. He can do a lot better at cleaning up the defensive glass. Yes, he's playing more minutes, getting more of the easy ones, some of the hard ones, but he can be doing better, and has another level that's right there, very much within reach. So let's make the initial goal getting to 13 rpg (he's at 12.9) and staying there.
I could talk about DJ's free throws (extremely disappointing-his stroke looks very much okay, and how can he not be at 50%? Is that too much to ask? It's super annoying), and the other thing I really don't like right now is the demonstrative finishes on the dunks. Griffin and DJ can say that Lob City is over all they want (they don't seem to say it much, or act that way these days; they're both pretty Lob Cityish, if you ask me), but Griffin still seems fairly petulant and DJ is very much into the rimswing and roar mode. It would be okay, and a crowd pleaser or fire-er-up-er (tough construction), but you have to earn them, methinks, and it would be okay on occasion if the Clips were at the top of the heap like the Pacers, Heat, Spurs and Thunder. But this team, and these guys, have bad losses against the Lakers, Orlando, and now the Hawks on the resume, and there's nothing to roar about, not yet.
Even more troubling (and I can tell that I'm going to get stuck on DJ, and my window here will close) is the interior and rim defense, which we've brought up elsewhere. Yes, there are some defensive improvements and some progress, but both DJ and Griffin are horrible and a decided beat too slow against guys right around the basket. Griffin has a minor, poor excuse in that he doesn't have the length, but DJ is borderline pathetic, and it's definitely annoying. Yes, he's 6th in blocked shots, but he should be in the top 3, just as he is in rebounds, and he would be if he didn't stand there failing to react as guys shoot layups over him right at the basket. How hard is it for DJ to finish with the ball inside when he doesn't have an obvious dunk or lob, and Griffin too for that matter, compared to how easy it is for their opponents? Lots of work to be done there.
See? I didn't even get to talk about appreciation for Jamal Crawford, the quiet welcome rise of DC, or the new Jamison Program, cutting Dudley some slack (and getting him in street clothes for awhile), schedule issues, bullish on Bullock, RyHo annoyance level, a plan for Mullens, and where would the Clippers be without Matt Barnes. Oh well. Nothing like a Saturday afternoon game and some barbecue to fill the senses and build good spirits. Namaste.