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.
It’s hard to overstate just how impactful Danilo Gallinari has been as an offensive player for the Clippers this season. For much of the season, he and Tobias Harris were almost singularly responsible for carrying the offensive load in the starting lineup, and since the trade deadline, he has become the scoring hub of the first unit. Through it all, he has been remarkably efficient, with a 63.3 true shooting percentage on 23.3% usage.
LA has won its last 10 games that Gallinari played. In that stretch, Gallinari leads all Clippers with a 122.2 offensive rating and a plus-15.9 net rating. He’s improved on his overall efficiency with a 68.2 true shooting percentage on 28.3% usage. Other players may get more headlines with their highlights, but Gallinari is the unsung engine of the team’s offense. Patrick Beverley put it best after LA’s win over Chicago Mar. 15 when he said, “Gall stuff is not really loud. It’s all bucket here, bucket here, free-throw line. He doesn’t wow you with dunks or anything, but you look up and he has 22 to 28 points a game, so he’s been very consistent throughout the year.”
Multiple players have commended Gallinari’s defense over recent weeks as well, even though that isn’t the end of the floor he is associated with. Gallinari’s block and steal numbers don’t jump off the page, but he is a smart positional defender and has shown an ability to switch onto perimeter players and defend smaller players in isolation. More importantly, Gallinari demonstrates his value on defense by being the loudest player on the floor. With so much roster turnover, the Clippers need someone on the court to make sure everyone knows their coverages, and Gallinari has assumed that role. Doc Rivers called him “the loudest talker on the floor”, something Beverley also reiterated.
It’s hard to find too many flaws in a team that has won 10 of 11, and the only players who are really experiencing a downturn right now are those experiencing injury. Shamet suffered an ankle injury in LA’s win Sunday over the Knicks, knocking him out of tonight’s game against Minnesota. The Clippers were clearly worried about his availability, as evidenced by their call-up of fellow rookie Jerome Robinson from the Agua Caliente Clippers.
Robinson is averaging 18.6 pts, 4.1 reb, 3.6 ast and 1.2 stl in 31.5 minutes per game in the G League. His shooting splits are 43/41/78 in his 23 appearances. https://t.co/7vdmf7oDAn— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) March 25, 2019
Shamet only had a true shooting percentage of 50.6 percent this past week, well below league average, and his struggling jumper led to a worse offensive rating (111.8) than the other LA starters. He did have a great answer to how he responds to shooting struggles, however.
“They just didn’t go in, I don’t look at it as a shooting struggle, shots didn’t go in,” Shamet said last Friday. “If you could control the ball going in or not, players would be really, really good, so you just can’t let that control the rest of your game.”
Shamet’s shooting gravity is still supremely important for the Clippers — Rivers loves having guards who can shoot quickly and frequently, and the team is 18.2 points per 100 possessions with Shamet on the floor, per Cleaning the Glass. His movement on offense, particularly off of screens, allows his teammates to operate with more space. LA will need Shamet to recover fully from this latest setback to reach its offensive ceiling in the playoffs.
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The net ratings of the Clippers bench players have fluctuated a lot in recent weeks, even those of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. But when you watch JaMychal Green play, there is a lot to like. He cleans the defensive glass better than anybody except for Ivica Zubac. Green willingly accepts a complementary role on offense, spacing the floor around the Williams-Harrell two-man game, and he’s shooting 38.3% on threes in an LA uniform, which makes him a pretty perfect piece. If anything, the Clippers would like Green to be a little more aggressive offensively, especially when a smaller player is switched onto him. LA’s strength all season has been depth of quality players, and Green is perfect example of that. He may have been overstretched as a spot starter during Gallinari’s one-game absence, but he’s as good of an eighth man as you can find in the league.