Pre-Training Camp Player Power Rankings for LA Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers' roster has been overturned and new players have been added to the roster, including management hiring a new coach. That means it is time for the 2013-14 season's first set of power rankings.
Where will the team's new acquisitions be ranked? How important is DeAndre Jordan? Who takes the top spot?
All these questions, and more, are about to be answered.
A sweet shooting rookie from the University of North Carolina, Reggie Bullock is yet another shooter that management added this summer.
Bullock was known for playing solid defense at North Carolina and proved he could score the ball during his stint on the Clippers’ summer league team.
He might not see many minutes early, but allows the team to groom a young perimeter player, while feeling confident that he can play as a rookie if needed.
Ryan Hollins is back as the Clippers third center. The energetic Hollins played well in spurts for the team last season, but will have a hard time finding guaranteed minutes this season.
The team has plenty of options in the front court, but Doc Rivers is familiar with Hollins, having coached him in 2011-12 with the Boston Celtics.
Surprisingly, Willie Green started 60 games last season for the Los Angeles Clippers. Due to Chauncey Billups being injured most of the season, Green was called upon to start next to Chris Paul and nail corner threes.
Although he likely will not start many, if any, games this season. Green’s professionalism and outside shooting will likely keep him on the active roster.
10. Antawn Jamison
After striking big with a late summer signing of an ex-Los Angeles Laker last season in Matt Barnes, the Los Angeles Clippers targeted another.
Antawan Jamison was signed just before September and management hopes he can split time at both forward positions, providing additional shooting support as a stretch forward.
Jamison played well and recorded a decent player efficiency rating (PER) of 15, considering he was playing in his 15th season. He provides depth for Doc Rivers to adjust his rotations as the season goes along.
9. Byron Mullens
The Los Angeles Clippers have lacked a stretch power forward for the past few years. Having a big that can draw his defender out of the paint for fear of him knocking down a jumper would surely help Blake Griffin. Now the team has that player.
While Byron Mullens has never recorded great shooting splits, he is more than capable of hitting open jumpers, which he will see plenty of in Los Angeles.
As long as Mullens is not a liability on defense and does solid work on the glass, he has an opportunity to earn a good amount of minutes this season.
8. Darren Collison
Taking over the backup point guard duties for the departed Eric Bledsoe, Darren Collison is in a familiar spot. Collison was Chris Paul’s reserve with the New Orleans Hornets as a rookie.
While he is not as explosive as Bledsoe, Collison will be expected to direct the second unit more efficiently than Bledsoe did. Collison has the ability to run an offense, hit the open three and attack off the dribble.
On top of that, he is also a solid defender and should help keep the Clippers’ bench as one of the top units on both sides of the floor.
7. DeAndre Jordan
Although DeAndre Jordan improved his overall offensive repertoire, he had a somewhat disappointing season in 2012-13. Despite scoring a career-best 8.8 points per game, he struggled to find playing time.
Part of that reason stems from his horrific 38 percent shooting from the free-throw line. Jordan was a complete liability late in games, because teams would foul him constantly. Additionally, his defense still needs to improve if he wants to play for than 24.5 minutes each night for Doc Rivers.
The team is counting on Jordan to be improved at the line and on defense this year. He is one of the X-factors that can help the Clippers climb the Western Conference’s ranks.
6. Jared Dudley
The definition of the ultimate role player should have a picture of Jared Dudley next to the description. Dudley does everything well, plays hard and served as the glue in the Phoenix Suns lineup the past few years.
Dudley will be asked to be that same player for the Los Angeles Clippers. The team desperately needed a solid defender at the small forward position who can also hit the three-ball. Dudley, a career 40 percent shooter from deep, brings exactly that.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin can now attack teams with their pick-and-roll sets, knowing that two deadly shooters are spacing the floor for them in Dudley and J. J. Redick.
5. Matt Barnes
After playing for eight teams in 10 years, Matt Barnes came back to his first team, the Los Angeles Clippers, and had a successful year.
Barnes scored a career-high 10.3 points per game and was a vital piece of one of the league’s best benches. The team rewarded the UCLA product with a three-year contract.
Once again, Barnes will be counted on to bring his fiery on-court attitude and help defend opposing teams’ star forwards. He may not be asked to score as much this season, but his defensive ability, rebounding and versatility will be key for the second-unit.
4. J.J. Redick
Brought in to improve the Los Angeles Clippers’ perimeter shooting, J.J. Redick will be a sight for sore fans’ eyes. Lacking a legitimate knock down shooter, management went out and traded for Redick.
Caron Butler and Willie Green both proved to be effective outside shooters last season, but Redick is a career 39 percent shooting from three. He is the perfect complement for Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.
Additionally, he will keep defenses on their toes because he moves so well without the ball. Redick only needs a slight opening to catch and shoot over the outstretched hand of a defender.
3. Jamal Crawford
Coming off one of the most efficient years of his career, Jamal Crawford looks to have found a home with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Crawford was extremely effective at leading the second unit, scoring 16.5 points per game along with 43.8 percent shooting from the field. The Michigan product will once again be relied upon to score and create for the reserves.
His ability to create his own shot was an extremely important tool for the Clippers last season. With Crawford on the floor, there was less pressure on Chris Paul to create. If Crawford can maintain his efficiency and continue scoring at such a high clip, the Clippers offense will fly high again this season.
2. Blake Griffin
For all of Chris Paul’s amazing talents, no player can impact the team’s outlook this season more than Blake Griffin.
The hyper-athletic power forward had a solid season in 2012-13, scoring 18 points per game to go along with 8.3 rebounds. However, the Los Angeles Clippers need Griffin to return to his 20 point, 10 rebound average from the previous two seasons.
Griffin’s rebounding has declined, but his jumper has improved along with his defense. If he can put everything together this season and become more effective on offense and the glass, the Clippers have everything else in place to make a deep run in the playoffs.
1. Chris Paul
After signing a new maximum contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, Chris Paul returns to headline a loaded Clippers’ offense.
Paul’s playmaking ability should be on full display from game one, after the acquisitions of J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley to space the floor around the new NBPA president. With so many shooters spread out on the perimeter, look for Paul to put up career-high assist totals this season.
Furthermore, the Clippers now boast one of the most potent offenses in the league, led by arguably the game’s best point guard. If the Clippers want to make a conference finals push this season, it will be Paul leading the charge.