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Clippings: Ty Lue is looking for his players to speak up

The offseason changes have left the Clippers without a vocal leader.

2021 NBA Playoffs - Phoenix Suns v LA Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

During the preseason, Ivica Zubac noted how strange it was not to have Patrick Beverley present in the gym anymore. Beverley was such a consistent vocal leader that Zubac says he still hears Beverley’s voice is his head, even though the point guard is all the way in Minnesota.

Strangely enough, Beverley’s voice running through Zubac’s head might be louder than anyone else’s in Clippers practice. Although Ty Lue is very happy about the team that the front office has assembled for the 2021-22 season, he does acknowledge that this is a quiet group that could use a little more volume on the court.

Zubac says that Reggie Jackson is now the loudest player on the team, and Lue concurs, but only before practice starts.

“I would say Reggie before practice, but then once the game starts and we start playing, everybody’s pretty quiet,” Lue said Friday. “Our whole team is quiet, but we gotta change that on the floor.”

On the court, it sounds like the team’s centers have done a good job of calling out actions on defense. But Lue doesn’t appear convinced. When asked if Isaiah Hartenstein was one of the more vocal players, the head coach was so confused by the premise of the question that he couldn’t say no fast enough.

Ideally, vocal leadership will come from the Clipper veterans, like Paul George, Marcus Morris Sr., Eric Bledsoe, and Jackson. Other than Bledsoe, they’ve been in and out of the preseason — or entirely out in Morris’ case — giving them less of an opportunity for their voices to be heard, but that’s changing with the season about to start.

Being quiet isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the Clippers had similar personalities a year ago and did just fine. It’s also hard to ask players to fundamentally change who they are. But the loudest voice in the locker room from the last four years is no longer around, and that has left an opening. Someone will have to fill the silence.

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