Welcome back to Stock Watch, a regular feature where we’ll check in on which Clippers are playing well, not so hot, or just can’t crack the rotation.
The Clipper faithful were rewarded this week when their favorite player — seriously, the volume Boban generates at Staples Center is unparalleled — entered the starting lineup Friday after a productive stint against Joel Embiid in a loss the night before. Boban has been knocking on the door of the rotation for some time now. As Doc Rivers said during the first week of the season, “Boban deserves to play. He’s going to play. He’s going to play every night, and on the nights when he’s doing well, he’s going to keep playing.”
Although Boban averaged only 9.6 minutes per game in October, his per-36 minutes averages of 26 points and 16 rebounds suggest a beast has been lurking within. He got 23 minutes in back-to-back games against Philadelphia and Orlando, more than either Marcin Gortat or Montrezl Harrell has been receiving, and his production has merited the bump. He posted back-to-back double-doubles and has been solid enough defensively to warrant the extra playing time.
“We all have struggled with, at least I have last year, in trying to figure out how to use him defensively where he can be effective enough to keep him on the floor,” Rivers said before beating Houston last week. “We’re trying to put him in the right spots defensively, but he’s had to help us in that. And he has. He’s really tried to improve his feet, and his length is already there, but being in the right positions, he’s been good.”
Boban has a net rating of plus-9.6 this season, including a defensive rating of 98.0. He gobbles up offensive rebounds at a rate of 10.8 percent (courtesy of NBA.com). As his minutes have increased, his efficiency has remained the same. Boban will likely continue to start for a few more games, and he has earned the promotion.
This has already been covered at length, particularly by Clips Nation’s Taylor Smith, so we’ll turn our focus elsewhere.
Beverley is one of the premier defensive point guards in the league, a two-time all-defense selection who throttles opposing offenses at the point of attack. Unfortunately for Beverley, the NBA officials’ renewed emphasis on freedom of movement on the perimeter has disrupted some of Beverley’s favorite tactics. He has said that he isn’t yet comfortable with how referees are calling the game, and his head coach has noticed it, too. Beverley is a physical player and he is having more difficulty this season staying out of foul trouble. According to Cleaning the Glass, he fouls more frequently than any other point guard, which has affected his ability to have a positive impact on the defensive end. His defensive rating is the worst it has been in his career, though there are small sample-size caveats.
On the other end of the floor, Beverley hasn’t yet found his rhythm, possibly disrupted by his foul trouble. He is a career 37 percent shooter from the 3-point line, but only 25 percent thus far. He’s shooting 31 percent overall, including 5-for-20 this past week. Beverley had a good shooting performance in his last home game (4-of-9, 3-of-6 from three); alas, the jump shot didn’t travel. It stands to reason that Beverley’s shooting will return to its career norms, especially since he is healthy, but until that happens, he will cede more and more time to Milos Teodosic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Keep an eye on:
Teodosic returned right when Luc Mbah a Moute headed to the injury list, opening up a spot in the second unit for the second-year point guard. Teodosic has been tremendous on offense, spearheading a three-guard lineup that seems ripped straight from Rick Carlisle’s imagination. He’s been sharing the ball and creating good shots for his teammates while avoiding turnovers. Although Teodosic hasn’t consistently called his own number, he has been shooting well from three, adding another dimension to the potent Clippers reserves.