A few weeks ago, John Wall, the LA Clippers’ newest signing, didn’t hesitate to acknowledge Reggie Jackson’s game and his irreplaceable role in Los Angeles. His words of acclaim were followed by his explicit intention to accept any role moving forward.
A few days ago, Jackson, the fourth-year Clipper, answered with lauding words of his own in an interview with ClutchPoints:
“Shoot, if we can just get 85 percent of what John is, we’re getting quite a steal.”
Despite the two naturally being regarded as the two candidates competing against each other for the Clippers’ floor general role, there doesn't seem to be any bad blood between them.
And bad blood between teammates is something this organization is used to.
The Clippers saw their first campaign with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard come to an early close as they blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs. While most fingers were pointed at George and his lackluster performances, it was later revealed that locker room problems were also reasons behind the team’s failure.
It was purported that the team’s sixth man Montrezl Harrell had problems with George and Leonard didn’t quite get along with the big man. More noticeably, the team’s former head coach Doc Rivers and George also had problems.
The six-time All-Star pointed at Rivers’ inability to adjust and make changes as the main reason behind the team blowing a 3-1 lead. During an interview on All The Smoke, George didn’t hold back:
“We lost. But during that whole process, we never worked on adjustments. We never worked on what to do differently. We just literally having the same s—t happen over and over again.”
From these problems to the locker room drama during the ‘Lob City’ era, the Clippers have often been held back by a lack of camaraderie regardless of the amount of talent on their roster.
This year, once again, the Clippers have one of the, if not the, best rosters on paper. But unlike most other years, the team is gelling together better than any other team in the league — from wedding parties to free agents willingly returning to Los Angeles.
So, it’s a good sign that the two players in direct competition respect each other and are willing to embrace whatever role they are given. And if these two veterans can continue to coexist as L.A.’s one-two-punch, the Clippers will be a handful for the rest of the league to handle.