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Clippings: Training camp signings and player workouts offer optimism

The recent Hartenstein signing gives the Clippers options prior to the start of the 2021-22 season.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Charlotte Hornets Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers are expected to have to endure challenges throughout the upcoming season, from filling the hole left by Kawhi Leonard due to injury to asking young players like Terance Mann to step up and contribute on day one. Having these challenges is not necessarily a negative thing, especially when looking at how the Clippers are approaching these challenges in the offseason.

We already know of how the Clippers sought to deepen their two-way guard play in the trade for Eric Bledsoe, as well as how the team brought more depth to the wing position by drafting Keon Johnson and Brandon Boston. The newest signing, however, shows that the front office is dedicated to rounding out their roster as well as they can with the limited options available to them. Per Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers reached a deal with Isaiah Hartenstein, who played most recently for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Although Hartenstein isn’t the most recognizable name, his ability to play at the center position is no joke. He averaged 8.3 points on nearly 60 percent shooting, chipping in 6.0 rebounds in fewer than 18 minutes per game last season with the Cavaliers. Compare that to Ivica Zubac, who averaged just one more point and one more rebound in about 22 minutes per game last season. Plus, the Clippers have options. They also signed Harry Giles to a non-guaranteed training camp deal, and with Ibaka and Zubac still on the roster, a strong showing by either Giles or Hartenstein could add immeasurable depth to a sometimes unreliable frontcourt.

That demonstrates how the front office is actively looking to improve an already deep roster, but its impact is amplified depending on the effort put in by the players themselves. Bledsoe, for one, has clearly bought into the Clippers’ system and culture, putting in extra work outside of practice with John Wall. Not only does this lead to renewed speculation about the Clippers being a destination for Wall, but it shows that even the team’s most recent acquisitions are contributing even before play officially starts.

The effort put in by both the front office and by the players does not at all serve as proof that the Clippers will exceed expectations this upcoming season. However, fans can sigh a breath of relief if there were any questions about the team’s dedication to winning and success, with no signs showing the Clippers will ease off of their intensity.

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