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“Gravity”: Vice Sports Describes Spacing of Redick, Jordan

Adam Mares hit the nail on the head when discussing the often-understated impact of the Clippers’ supporting cast.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In Friday’s NBA Wraparound, VICE Sports writer and Denver Stiffs managing editor Adam Mares dove into the Clippers’ early-season success, breaking down four main keys to their play:

  • The Force of Gravity
  • Blake Griffin Grab N’ Go
  • Second Half Performance
  • After Timeout Plays

Mares, aside from being a friend of Clips Nation, is a good NBA writer, cool dude, and fiend in the post during media pick-up games. I’d definitely recommend the read.

For me, the best part of the article is the first (and longest) section on “gravity” which describes the more-than-spacing that J.J. Redick and DeAndre Jordan, the number 3 and 4 guys on the Clippers’ offense, bring to the table. “Spacing” traditionally means a player who stands at the right spots on the three-point line and shoots well enough to put the defender in a tough spot, forced to choose between helping on a drive and leaving a good shooter, or not helping on the drive and conceding a lay-up.

What Redick and Jordan do are undeniably different (and better) than mere spacing. Redick’s activity on screens doesn’t just stretch his man, but it pulls the entire defense to the weak side, and he isn’t just a good shooter—he’s one of the most efficient scorers in the league. Jordan, on the other hand, doesn’t shoot at all, but helps with what I’ve long called “vertical spacing”. Because DeAndre can jump so high to finish off lobs, big men are forced to stay close to him when he rolls to the rim, opening up driving lanes for guards on pick-and-roll plays.

“Gravity” is an excellent term to describe how these guys pull defenses away from the ball and make life easier for Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. I’d highly recommend checking out Adam’s analysis on this and the other areas mentioned above.