"This team will tell us who they are, before I tell you who they are," coach Doc Rivers explained as the Clippers prepared to officially introduce themselves to the media for the first time in the 2015-16 NBA season.
Rivers spoke about his expectations for the lineup, now that he has deeper talent, and frankly, more talented talent, to work with. "Multi-positional" was the buzzword of the day for Doc, explaining that his biggest challenge going into training camp will be determining exactly, well, who does what.
"I wanted guys who could play the 1 and 2, the 2 and 3, the 3 and 4, or the 4 and 5," Doc said about how he approached offseason acquisitions. Now he'll have the challenge of deciding which units work best together, and expects most of the legwork in that area to be done during training camp.
"When they're on the floor, we're not sure exactly what position they're playing. That was my goal, especially for the bench," Rivers said.
The Clippers do indeed have a hodgepodge of multi-positional guys available, embodied by new acquisitions like Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, Paul Pierce and Wes Johnson. All are guys who can shoot the ball, most can defend (sorry, Paul), and all are potentially an option to start at the 3-spot, save for Josh Smith. So, Doc, who will be the Clippers starting small forward on opening night?
"Honestly, I've given it a lot of thought, but I could care less who it ends up being."
Training camp is typically the time when playing units are ironed out, but Rivers and the coaching staff have their work cut out for them. Because of the Clippers many options, we could be seeing different lineup changes throughout the season. Doc famously mixes things up in his lineups, and now he has some tastier ingredients to work with.
Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan's conversation with the media on Friday was mainly limited to talk about what exactly happened with Dallas this offseason, and what of that secret, day-long meeting at DeAndre's home in Houston?
"It wasn't that dramatic," Paul insisted. "I feel like I need to come up with a better story about what happened, because it was boring."
The big three reiterated time and time again that there are no chemistry issues among them, that they all like--no, love--each other, and Griffin mentioned that sometimes, you butt heads, even with the ones you love most.
"Wait till you get married," Paul quipped.
But the questions about Dallas continued, prompting Griffin to take it upon himself to settle the matter once and for all. Without being asked, Griffin lectured the media for a full two minutes about the amount of falsified drama he's seen and read about the team, and how none of it, as far as he's concerned, should be taken seriously.
"What you guys hear about the team is not what is happening with the team," he said.
Here to talk about hoops, Griffin said his offseason workouts consisted of him getting better in every area, focusing on his all-around game. Jordan hopes to be a more integral part of the offense, which Doc Rivers agrees the team needs.
Paul Pierce told the media that he was glad to return to his hometown of Los Angeles to finish his career, but insisted he's not just here for the novelty.
"It's an awesome feeling to come home," Pierce said, "but if I didn't think this team had a chance, I wouldn't be here."
He also candidly admitted that if the Clippers achieve their championship hopes this season, it'll likely be Pierce's last year playing professional basketball. As such, Pierce says he's not concerned about his minutes, and is willing to take on whatever role the team needs him to take on to ensure team success.
The Clippers begin training camp at UC Irvine on Saturday, and will play their first preseason game of the year next Friday, October 2.