Yesterday after the Clippers win over the Blazers, Doc Rivers provided an update on two of the Clippers’ wounded. Specifically, he said that Landry Shamet will travel on the (six game) road trip and will return at some point along that duration, and that Rodney McGruder plans to play Friday.
This is a big deal. Landry Shamet was regarded as a key component to the Clippers’ offense coming into the season, and while he got off to a rough start, the Clippers’ offense is not completely operational without him. His ability to move without the basketball and drain threes off the catch is extremely valuable to a Clippers team that features two double-team worthy players in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and his presence should help open the floor further. While Shamet began the season as a starter, and could feasibly return there, Moe Harkless’ outstanding play has likely solidified him as the go-to starter, and it seems probable Shamet will come off the bench upon his return, strengthening an already deadly reserve unit.
McGruder’s return will help as well. He was just starting to get into a groove prior to his injury last weeks, and offers excellent defense at the guard positions in addition to competent shooting and a sneaky dribble-drive game. Rodney won’t be a high-minute layer, especially with Shamet back on the court, but his 10-12 minutes per game are valuable.
In the short term, this means a minute reduction for Jerome Robinson and Terance Mann, both of whom have flashed impressive play, but are not as consistent as Shamet and McGruder. In fact, with both those guys back, it would not be a surprise to see Robinson and Mann out of the rotation entirely, with Derrick Walton Jr. sent back down to Agua Caliente. It will be interesting to see how Doc Rivers manages his rotations with a fully healthy roster, but one thing’s for sure — the Clippers are looking more dangerous than ever.