Doesn't it feel like our hearts were just broken with the freak injury to Chris Paul in the NBA Playoffs? After a summer of resigning some key pieces to the roster, adding some solid veteran big men, and trying to lure Kevin Durant to LA, Doc Rivers and Company have started their work towards their ultimate goal for the 2016-17 NBA season, the Larry O'Brien trophy. We are now three days into training camp and here is what we have noticed:
- Blake Griffin came into Camp 100% healthy and in great shape. In fact Coach Rivers said that Griffin probably came to camp in the best shape out of the whole team. He participated in full practices the first two days, and was able to work with NBA legend Kevin Garnett on day three.
- Coach Rivers is still uncertain about the starting small forward spot. He is currently looking at Luc Mbah a Moute and Alan Anderson as possible starters, alongside Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and JJ Redick. Mbah a Moute has been working hard on his outside shot, practicing 3-pointers with the coaching staff at the end of practices each day. Anderson has had time with the first team during the practices on day 1 and day 2, but sat out day 3 to rest his ankle, which he injured last season. Coach Rivers states that the ankle is not a worry, but chose to give Anderson the day off as a precaution. And don't forget Wes Johnson. Although most of his work has been with the second unit, he definitely will be an option when Doc Rivers chooses his starting roster.
- Many Clippers players, including Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Jamal Crawford, along with Coach Rivers, have stated that this team has meshed well together in the early stages of camp. Crawford stated that this team was the “right mix of guys” and that the players have “bought into what this team is trying to accomplish”. Although there was a similar message at last years training camp, this year it sounds more sincere.
- There has been praise by coach Doc Rivers, and other Clippers veterans, about the rookies, Bryce Johnson and Diamond Stone. When the media was given access to watch the end of practice on day one, Bryce Johnson looked pretty solid, both with his shooting and athleticism. Multiple players have mentioned that Diamond Stone can definitely hit a three point shot, which would be a reason that Diamond Stone might be able to stick in the NBA. Don't expect many minutes from the two rookie big men, especially early in the season, but there will be moments throughout this season that Clippers fans will be able to see the rookies talents shine.
- On offense, the Clippers are looking to push the ball a little quicker up court. Last season the team was one of the worst at bringing the ball up the court in a timely manner, giving them multiple possessions that ended in a rushed or contested shot. On defense, the team is going to continue with the game plan from last season, with maybe a few minor tweaks. The team's defensive success in the second half of the season is one of the reasons why coach Rivers has decided not to make any major alterations. With that said, there has been a major emphasis on defensive rebounding for this team. Coach Rivers feels that defensive rebounding is the major aspect that the Clippers can improve in on defense.
Videos & Pictures from Camp
JJ's shot looks game ready pic.twitter.com/tReFurwBko— DJ Ray Samora (@DJRaySamora) September 27, 2016
Apparently bad audio when I posted this originally. This should have complete audio. Sorry. pic.twitter.com/W50yuMsUlb— DJ Ray Samora (@DJRaySamora) September 27, 2016
Cp3, Austin, JC, Dorell Wright working on 3s pic.twitter.com/zZUM8iLqwp— DJ Ray Samora (@DJRaySamora) September 28, 2016
Doc Rivers asks Ralph how practice went:
CP3 on Mo Speights
Rivers with an impressive block in practice today pic.twitter.com/DLa0HJLvnn— DJ Ray Samora (@DJRaySamora) September 29, 2016