The LA Clippers are back in the news, and there’s more info about the struggles of last season, but Clippers star Paul George is having a say, too.
George is a guest on an upcoming episode of Showtime’s “All the Smoke” with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, and in a revealing 5-minute preview, has some very spicy things to say about Doc Rivers.
I have to imagine these are the main highlights of the full interview, coming out next week, but here are the main takeaways of this interview clip:
- George says Doc Rivers treated him like “Ray Allen or JJ Redick,” implying that the ex-Clippers coach didn’t think of him as a second or co-first scoring option on the team. He also said the role Rivers gave him didn’t show off his full talents.
- He also says the Clippers never adjusted while slowly losing their playoff series against the Denver Nuggets, not directly naming Rivers but effectively blaming the coach (something that the rest of the world also leveled at Doc, to be fair).
- George also briefly mentions the Clippers never practiced together all season, which in turn meant they never figured out their system all the way and helped them hash out any differences away from the cameras. As a result, they ended up bickering on the court, in the playoffs, as they melted down.
George is also contrite in the interview clip, saying the Clippers didn’t deserve to win the title and that they weren’t ready for it. But it’s pretty clear he’s laying the blame at Rivers’ feet. And now, with Rivers gone but most of the roster still intact, George will get a chance to prove that was the case, or not.
More news for this Thursday:
- More background on Clippers’ issues: The counterweight to this clip of George on “All the Smoke” is the latest feature on The Athletic from Jovan Buha on Wednesday, who uncovers more examples of star treatment given to Kawhi Leonard and George that is alleged to have thrown off the Clips’ chemistry. It’s a worthy read but doesn’t have the same explosive punch, maybe, as the previous exposés on the team’s struggles last year.
- High NBA coronavirus positive rates: The NBA and NBPA announced Wednesday that there were 48 positive coronavirus tests this week around the league, a positive rate of 8.8 percent overall. That is certainly concerning, but there was the context that the national (out-of-control and getting worse) positive rate among normal people is currently 10.2 percent.
- Checking in on the Knuckleheads: Over at the LA Times, Andrew Greif profiles former Clippers fan favorites and current podcast stars Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles.
- Rockets-Wizards in blockbuster trade: Russell Westbrook is joining the Washington Wizards, with John Wall heading to the Houston Rockets in exchange, reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski Wednesday. A change of scenery could do each of them some good, to be honest.
- LeBron inks contract extension: Finally, the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to sign LeBron James to a new two-year deal. The Ringer says the move is not just a victory lap for LeBron’s title win last season, but of course, we’ll see what happens moving forward.