Clippers plan to push tempo, be more versatile in post-Chris Paul Era

first_imgChris Paul controlled the ball for six seasons in a Clippers uniform. He pushed the tempo or slowed it down, as he saw fit. He took the big shots when time was short, or decided who else would. He directed almost everything his teammates did as the consummate floor leader.There was no debating the regular-season results.The Clippers won 50 games or more for five consecutive seasons with Paul as their point guard, and it probably would have been six in a row if not for the NBA lockout that shortened the 2011-12 season to 66 games, down from the standard 82.Paul averaged 18.8 points on 47.5 percent shooting, plus 9.8 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals in 409 career games with the Clippers after six seasons with similar statistics in 425 games with the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “Again, you go into camp and you look at your team and you’ll find the pace that want to play at. I think we should be an up-tempo team, an early-strike team. We should be a very physical team. (But) you have to get your team and see what you really have when you get to camp.”Training camp started Tuesday at the University of Hawaii.There will be new roles for new players, and for the old ones, as well.Adapting won’t be all that difficult, according to guard Austin Rivers, the coach’s son.“We’re just going to hoop,” he said.In fact, there’s not likely to be a normal guard rotation. Austin Rivers might assume the shooting guard position, playing alongside Patrick Beverley at the point. Beverley was the key piece in the Paul trade, arriving with a gritty style of play the Clippers lacked.Lou Williams, a shooting guard who also came from Houston, could be the Clippers’ new sixth man, replacing the departed Jamal Crawford. Milos Teodosic, a dynamic playmaker from Serbia, also could be the starting point guard.Doc Rivers said he plans to mix and match his guards.Up front, things are settled.Or so it would seem.Danilo Gallinari, acquired from Denver in a trade will start at small forward. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will take their usual spots as power forward and center. But Doc Rivers said all but Jordan might play in different positions from time to time.“Blake will play a lot of positions,” Doc Rivers promised. “We don’t really get into positions, but there will be times when Blake is the tallest guy on the floor. There will be times when he’ll be more of a (small forward) or (power forward). We want him to be an aggressive player, an attack player. He’ll bring the ball up at times. He’ll be one of the guys we use as a facilitator.”All will be revealed in time, Doc Rivers promised.For now, with so many new faces on the court, continuity is the buzzword for training camp.“This camp will be different in that I think we’re going to have to play a lot,” Doc Rivers said. “A lot of camps you can get into your execution and drill work and it all falls into place. This group, we just have to play a lot to catch up.“There’s teams that have been together and have played tons of games together. We’ve played zero games together. So, I think that will be the biggest thing, and then everybody kind of figuring our their roles and accepting their roles. Anybody can figure it out. Accepting it is another thing.“That would be the challenge.”center_img Paul is gone now, traded to the Houston Rockets in a blockbuster offseason deal that enabled the Clippers to overhaul their roster for a fresh start for 2017-18. His departure created new opportunities, but new questions, too, including the most obvious one:How will the Clippers get along without him?Certainly, their style of play must change.Dramatically so, if everything goes as planned.“It mandates a change in style, probably the style I’m more familiar with,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said when asked about changes in the wake of Paul’s departure. “I’ve always been a ball-movement coach. We can get back into that. I do want to play at a higher pace.last_img read more

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