First, he said the Los Angeles Lakers were the best franchise in sports history. Then he admitted he did not want to coach a team that was going to get its "ass kicked."
Then, on Thursday, Rivers twisted the knife just a little bit more. He believes his new team could be better than the 2008 team. "They should be better than any team I've ever coached, I really believe that," Rivers said. Hmmm… this seems crazy, right? That Celtics team had 3 veterans that consisted of their "Big Three", along with a point guard in Rajon Rondo that was up and coming. The depth of that 2008 Celtics team was also solid. Eddie House, James Posey, P.J. Brown, Sam Cassell, and Tony Allen were all solid contributors during that run through the NBA Finals.
The Los Angeles Clippers, according to Rivers, have a Big Three of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. Here's the problem with Rivers' big three in L.A. Only one of them is a player that can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court in crunch time, and that's Chris Paul.
Jordan and Griffin cannot shoot free throws. Griffin shot 66% last year, however, Jordan's 38% makes Griffin look like Ray Allen. Jordan's best season from the charity stripe was a Shaq-like 52%.
Jordan makes his living under the hoop, he shot 69% from 9 feet and in, per Hoopdata. Last year Griffin shot 36% from 10-23 feet. Compare that to Kevin Garnett's 47% from the same distances. Griffin will need to stretch his game out onto the perimeter if the Clippers are going to be successful in the playoffs.
J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley were savvy additions to help stretch the floor beyond the perimeter, and Jamal Crawford is coming off a very solid season, even though he just realized the benefit of practice. The Clippers lack veteran leadership that has playoff experience. The one thing Rivers' new team does have is athletic guys that know how to dunk.
Once again, Doc is speaking his mind. It seems like this is the most hyperbolic thing he could have said to this point. His Clippers team is going to be good. There is not a doubt about that. However, what additions have they made that will truly alter the future of their team? They traded away Eric Bledsoe, they have only been as far as the Western Conference Semi-finals (in 2011). This group has disappointed and under performed. Can Doc Rivers make that big of a difference? It's possible, however, if Chris Paul is left to create and shoot down the stretch without any help from Griffin and Jordan, then this Clippers team will not reach its potential and they will continue to confound their fans.
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