The Clippers have several important decisions to make this offseason. On some of them, the team’s hand will be forced, as players who are free agents will have the opportunity to sign wherever they please. But the Clippers also need to be proactive about reshaping their current roster and maybe trading some existing players, because this group wasn’t good enough. No one is above blame.
The good folks at Clutch Points put together a graphic asking which Clippers the franchise should keep this offseason, including Paul George, Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, Ivica Zubac, Lou Williams, and Doc Rivers. It would seem that George would be the most important individual within that group — in the NBA, the best talent tends to win.
However, a Clipper legend, the great Ralph Lawler, had a different idea, tweeting that Rivers was the top priority.
Of that group pictured, Doc is the top priority to stay. https://t.co/CpMlXDR8YN— Ralph Lawler (@Ohmeomy) September 25, 2020
Admittedly, George didn’t have a sterling postseason, though some of that can be attributed to the mental strain of being in the bubble. Williams and Harrell didn’t have the same dynamism as they did during the regular season, and Beverley wasn’t available for half of the playoffs. Zubac was great within his role, but his role has limits.
But Rivers arguably struggled more than any of those players, consistently failing to put the Clippers in the best position to succeed and unable to coax a better effort out of his team.
For all the criticism that has been levied at Rivers, the fact remains that he has a lot of fans both within the organization and around the league. A bad playoff series isn’t going to jeopardize his tenure with the Clippers, at least not for the upcoming season. Lawler’s opinion is shared by many, even if fans aren’t too happy with the head coach’s performance during this postseason.
If I were choosing among those six, Rivers would probably come in third. We’ll see how many of those individuals the Clippers do end up prioritizing as part of the team’s future.
More news for Monday:
- The Miami Heat punched their ticket to the NBA Finals Sunday. They will face off against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Seattle Storm also secured a spot in the WNBA Finals, and Jewell Loyd wants her T-shirt.
- The Heat have had an ongoing battle off the court in the bubble, as Jimmy Butler’s Big Face Coffee competes against Miami trainer Brandon Gilliam’s Little Face Coffee for customers.
- This is the first time in six years the Golden State Warriors have not been in the Finals, but Mike Prada notes that the Warriors left a legacy in each of the conference finalists.
- Tyronn Lue is scheduled to interview for the Philadelphia head coaching job Tuesday, though sources say the position will go to Mike D’Antoni if he wants it.
- Teams have been turning to zone defenses with increasing regularity this postseason. I wrote about Rivers’ interest in zone earlier this year.
- The NBA is starting to work through arena protocols for the 2020-21 season.