“We’re on a mission. We’ve been deployed. Nothing is going to distract us.”
That was the opening message Doc Rivers gave his team after they arrived in Orlando. “We’re not going to complain about anything,” Rivers added. “Right now personally I think it’s been impressive. When you watch what the NBA has done to try to pull this off, it’s really impressive. We love it. We’re here. That’s it. That’s our message, is that this is a business trip for us.”
For the Clippers, this business trip is all about trying to win an NBA championship for the first time in franchise history. The team arrived in Orlando earlier this week, and they had their first team practice yesterday. There are still some players who are not with the team yet, but Rivers said that the team will have all 15 players available for the re-start of the season.
“We brought 15 players,” he said. “We will be bringing 15 players when Kawhi and then the other guys get here. They’re close.”
Leonard arrived in Orlando last night per Rivers, and the team is still waiting on JaMychal Green, Ivica Zubac and Landry Shamet.
With an experience unlike anything ever seen in the NBA, Rivers isn’t sure what the team is going to learn over the course of the next few months. Though he’s unsure, he’s confident the team will be taking away a lot after this is all over.
“We’re going to learn about ourselves individually,” he said. “We’re going to learn a lot of what we’re willing to put up with to win. We’re going to learn basketball, too. I mean, this is a different setting. I’ve never had where I had 65 games to watch and evaluate how your team is playing, what your team does well, then take a break, come back, now restart it. It will be interesting.I think some teams may come out playing differently than they did for the first 65. Most teams will just come out and pick up where they left off, at least try to. But there absolutely will be lessons learned both individually and as a team.”