At a certain point, you’d hit a point of diminishing marginal return, and the simple fact of a finite amount of minutes being shared by an excess of quality rotation guys in the Clippers locker room may lead to unhappy players. One of the most notably of those questions: who will be the starting point guard for the Clippers come opening night?
On one hand, we have Reggie Jackson, a player who has embraced and embodied this team, their fans, and its culture since being signed by the Clippers mid-season in 2020. He kept the team afloat last season while Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and even newcomer Norman Powell, were racked by injury. And, because of it, he earned the starting job, as well as countless “Reggie!” chants, last season.
And then there’s John Wall, who was just signed this offseason after sitting out all of last year with the Houston Rockets. Wall, who has career averages of 19.1 points, 9.1 assists, and 1.7 steals, graced both All-Star and All-NBA teams in his prime, and has started in 601 out of 613 total games in his career, has the resume to vie for that spot as well.
Recent reports have suggested that the spot would be up for competition during training camp. It is reassuring to see, however, that Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints recently reported that Wall has shown that he is open to both starting and coming off the bench:
“For me, I’m just happy to play basketball again. I’m a competitor, I know a lot of people ask me, are you mad if you start or not start – I don’t care, I’m a competitor and I just want an opportunity to go out there and compete for a spot and if I get it I get it and if I don’t, we know how talented Reggie Jackson is and what he’s done for this team and helping these guys out, especially when Kawhi and PG was out, even when they was there, he’s a great piece. Whoever gets the spot is great. We all just come here with one goal and trying to win a championship.”
Wall’s willingness to buy into the Ty Lue’s system and play with the team is a great sign of the continuing on- and off-court chemistry of this team. And especially from someone as decorated as Wall, this attitude and leadership is likely what made Wall a viable target for the Clippers front office in the first place.
Still, Wall, who has been known across the league as being uber competitive, won’t give up the chance to start for free. Steel sharpens steel. And the Clippers should come out looking all the sharper because of it.