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 last time Lou Williams was out with a hamstring injury, back in December, the Clippers leaned on Milos Teodosic to fill the void in the backcourt. Although Teodosic is a passing wizard whose unique style is incredibly fun to watch, he didn’t bring a whole lot of value for LA when he took the court. With Williams (and Danilo Gallinari) out again, it looks like Doc Rivers is electing to distribute more of the minutes to Patrick Beverley this time around, and it’s been a pretty rousing success thus far.
Even in a 1-3 week, Beverley’s net rating was plus-9.8. He has provided needed shot creation on offense, assisting on 17 percent of the Clippers’ baskets when he’s on the court to the tune of four assists per game. His scoring comes and goes, but Beverley’s effort never wanes. He has averaged eight rebounds per game this week and has been a monster defensively with a 92.5 defensive rating.
After the loss to New Orleans Monday, Doc Rivers said, “Pat had three points but was a major factor in the game tonight, 11 rebounds, 7 assists. He just plays hard, and those are the type of energy guys we need. It’s nice having [Pat and Trez] off the bench, though, to be honest. That group changes tempo when they come in.”
That duo will now be bringing the energy to the Clippers’ starting lineup, and if one game is any indication, their effort has not changed, giving LA something to work with as the team recovers from its injuries.
Mike Scott has been a regular part of the Clippers rotation essentially since the start of the season, cementing his role once Luc Mbah a Moute exited the lineup. However, he may be losing his spot as the backup four. After averaging 16 minutes per game in November and December, Scott is only averaging 8.5 minutes per night in January, including a DNP-CD in Sunday’s tilt in San Antonio.
Scott was essentially a backup center last year with the Wizards and has been given a little more opportunity to flex his perimeter skills in LA. However, other than shooting 37 percent on threes in a Clipper uniform, Scott hasn’t done much of anything. He doesn’t even take that many threes, so his overall offensive output is pretty minimal since he shoots poorly from two and doesn’t ever get fouled.
Scott has attached himself to Harrell in the second unit because Trez’s rolls to the basket work better when there is spacing, and Scott still commands respect from beyond the arc — plus, he knows how to position himself on the floor. However, with Harrell in the starting lineup, the second unit can get funkier, and that means fewer minutes for the veteran big.
Keep an eye on:
The Free Motley movement reached its apex this week, as Motley received real rotation minutes against both Golden State and San Antonio, including being the primary backup big against the Spurs. As a young player, Motley is still finding his footing defensively, but he has shown a lot of skill on offense thus far. He’s using 31 percent of LA’s possessions when he is on the floor and demonstrating a variety of post moves in the process.
He is confident in his ability to score, as he told Clips Nation after his first game against Orlando. “It’s what I do: I play basketball, and I’m a really good scorer. I think I have a knack for finding buckets. I’m a bucket getter,” Motley said. “My guys, they’re looking out. They know the skill set I have, and they believe in me, so they feed it to me every time I get a switch.”
Motley had a plus-4.8 net rating in the past four games, including the second-best offensive rating on the team at 113.6 (Sindarius Thornwell had a nuts-o stretch, statistically). He was a good rim-running backup center, allowing the Clippers to play stylistically similar in both starting and reserve units; that’s particularly important because LA will have to stagger lineups with the team’s current injury concerns.
There’s a reason Motley was available on a two-way contract, and his defense and turnovers present real concerns. But he’s shown a lot more promise than problems, and it’s fun to watch him grow alongside a stable of young Clippers who are also getting a chance to stretch their legs.