The Los Angeles Clippers upgraded their roster over the summer with the additions of J.J Redick, Jared Dudley, Darren Collison and Byron Mullens. The roster lacked players who could defend and hit open shots from the perimeter, but the front office found more than adequate additions to fill those roles. Some will see an increase in their career-averages, while others will be counted on to improve some of the team's weaknesses.
Projection: 13 points, two rebounds, three assists, 44 percent from the field, 40 percent from three
Redick might not have the same play-making responsibility as he did in Orlando, but he will be asked to play an important role in the Clippers’ offense. The team severely lacked a knockdown shooter last season. Additionally, the team also had little weak-side action in their half court sets.
Redick should see quite a lot of back-side screen-and-pop actions in order to take the defenses’ focus off Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Doc Rivers’ offense typically used Ray Allen in a similar manner with the Boston Celtics.
Rivers would disguise his offensive sets and pay by running Ray Allen around multiple screens, mainly away from the direct action of Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce drives. Redick provides the same type of shooting and shot creating ability from the wing to help space the floor for the Clippers’ star players.
Projection: 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, 47 percent from the field, 42 percent from three
The past few seasons, Jared Dudley became one of the primary offensive threats for the Phoenix Suns. While he is unlikely to be that much of an offensive threat for the Los Angeles Clippers, Dudley will play a vital role for Doc Rivers.
Dudley is a solid defender, something the Clippers desperately need on the perimeter. Doc Rivers will likely employ Dudley as the primary wing defender, asking him to guard the likes of Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and James Harden.
On the other end of the floor, Dudley should see a number of spot-up opportunities thanks to the pick-and-roll duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. His old coach, Alvin Gentry, is now the Clippers’ assistant head coach and he will know exactly how to use Dudley.
While he is capable of creating off the dribble, expect to see Dudley lined up in the corner shooting uncontested three-pointers.
Projection: Eight points, two rebounds, four assists, 46 percent from the field, 37 percent from three
Returning to his once familiar role as Chris Paul’s backup, Darren Collison will see a reduction in his minutes, but might be in a better position to succeed as a point guard.
Playing next to Jamal Crawford will improve Collison’s ability to create his own shots and finish because Crawford will see receive plenty of defensive attention. Collison should have a much easier time attacking the paint and creating for himself or others thanks to Crawford.
Additionally, being asked to play less minutes could help improve Collisons’ overall impact. He will likely see around 20 minutes a night, but the demand the coaching staff will ask from him will not be as grueling as it was last season as a Dallas Maverick.
Collison needed to be relied upon to initiate the offense in the absence of Dirk Nowitzki. Now he will be asked to manage the second unit and hit from long-range. He will also have J.J. Redick and Crawford to split ball-handling duties with.
Projection: Nine points, six rebounds, one block, 42 percent from the field, 32 percent from three
The Los Angeles Clippers desperately needed to find a big that could stretch the floor next to Blake Griffin. While Byron Mullens is unlikely to start, he will be relied upon to play that vital stretch-big role.
Blessed with good form on his jumper and a soft touch, Mullens is capable of connecting from long-range. Unfortunately, he is only a 30 percent shooter from deep and is not much better on long twos.
According to hoopdata, Mullens’ best season from 16-23 feet is only 35 percent. He will need to make a better percentage than that if he wants to assure himself of crunch-time minutes.
Finally, while he is not much of a defender, the Clippers need all the help they can get on the offensive and defensive glass. Mullens’ length and size should help the Clippers improve their rebounding, seeing as they finished tied for 17th in total rebound per game.
Overall, the Los Angeles Clippers addressed many of their weaknesses this summer. Thanks to the additions of Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick, the Clippers should be an even more potent offense due to their shooting prowess.
Darren Collison is set to replace Eric Bledsoe behind Chris Paul. While he may not provide the defensive spark that Bledsoe brought, Collison is a much more well-rounded point guard capable of directing the reserves.
The front court was addressed with the signing of Byron Mullens to space the floor and hit the glass. The Clippers definitely look like a conference finalist on paper, but it will all depend on how the team plays together and how quickly Doc Rivers can utilize the team’s new assets on both ends of the floor to cover up some of the team's deficiencies.