Predicting The Los Angeles Clippers’ Final 15-Man Roster
State of the Los Angeles Clippers Heading Into 2013-14
Heading into training camp, there will be an uncharacteristic buzz going around Staples Center for the arenas normally unloved tenant, the Los Angeles Clippers. Normally October is a time of looking ahead to the next season for the Clippers, but after compiling winning percentages over .600 and making the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, it is clear that the tide has officially changed and expectations are greater than ever.
During the 2013-14 season, the Clippers will be expected to win an NBA Championship for the first time in the franchises 43-year existence. What has sent these expectations shooting through the roof during the summer was the acquisition of Doc Rivers during the offseason, whose main job will be to make sure the team is ready to play in April. This will require Rivers to make sure that Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin can get away from their reliance on flashy run and gun plays and develop a reliable half court offense.
Transforming the team will have to start in training camp, where these three key players will have to integrate themselves with a largely brand-new supporting cast of characters. Many of these new players have been brought in with the key idea that they have veteran NBA experience, and can play a successful game when the tempo slows down.
With the transformation of the Clippers offense and the integration of their new bodies into the offense proving to be key facets of the teams 2013-14 success, it will be crucial to figure out the role of each player for the upcoming season. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of the 15 players who will be on the team's opening-day roster come opening night, and identified each players expected role within the team.
15. Louis Amundson
After receiving an invitation to camp from the Clippers, it is clear that Louis Amundson will be fighting for his roster spot throughout training camp. Given his high energy level and workmanlike attitude, it seems a hard bet to go against Amundson earning the last spot on the Clippers roster, although the power forward may not see much playing time in 2013-14.
14. Maalik Wayans
It appears that Maalik Wayans is poised to reprise his role of little-used point guard with the Clippers again in 2013-14. Wayans may not be receive much playing time, but with Darren Collison and Chris Paul in front of him it appears he won't be needed to step on the court too often.
13. Brandon Davies
Despite four strong seasons at BYU not being enough to result in Brandon Davies being drafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, he will enter training camp with the opportunity to earn the spot as the Clippers third small forward. While he is not going to be a top-level rookie, it does appear that the Clippers could have an unhidden gem in Davies, as the 6-foot-9, 235-pound small forwards has the ability to put the ball on the floor and create space for teammates as well as having a viable jump shot.
12. Ryan Hollins
Ryan Hollins will sit third on the Clippers depth chart of centers, a position that he will find familiar after splitting time with Ronny Turiaf as the teams backup center in 2012-13. The 7 footer will provide good relief on the bench when called upon during 2013-14, although that may not happen very much.
11. Reggie Bullock
After getting drafted in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft by the Clippers, it seems likely that Reggie Bullock's roster spot is a near lock. Just how much time he receives on the court once the season starts could be in doubt though, as the transition from college to NBA basketball could prove to be difficult.
10. Willie Green
Despite starting in 60 games for the Clippers during the 2012-13 season, it appears likely that Willie Green is in for a step down in playing time after the team acquired J.J. Redick over the summer. Even with this acquisition, it appears likely that Green will play 10-12 minutes per game off the bench for the Clippers.
9. Byron Mullens
After serving as the starting center for the lowly Charlotte Bobcats the last two seasons, Byron Mullens signed with the Clippers this offseason to be the teams' backup center behind DeAndre Jordan. Mullens is by no means a great center, but the big 7 footer can surely serve as a more than adequate backup given the dearth of centers in the NBA currently.
8. Darren Collison
Darren Collison was signed during the offseason as cover for Chris Paul in the point guard position, and it appears the Clippers will have one of the best backups in the NBA. Collision has previously started to moderate success, and as a backup looks like the perfect cover in the case of an injury to Paul.
7. Matt Barnes
Matt Barnes will be expected to provide some depth scoring for the Clippers during the 2013-14 season as a small forward. During recent seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers this role has suited Barnes perfectly, and it appears the move within Staples Center will suit him perfectly.
6. Antawn Jamison
Antawn Jamison will be expected to provide some cover off the bench at both of the forward positions for the Clippers. Jamison appears to be a perfect fit for this role as he previously won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2004 and is highly motivated by the fact that at 37, this may be his last chance to win an NBA championship.
5. J.J. Redick
During the offseason, the Clippers acquired J.J. Redick as part of a three-team trade with the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, and it is expected they will slot him right into the lineup. Redick will likely be the Clippers starting shooting guard, and add another dimension to the teams run and gun offense with his shooting prowess.
4. Jared Dudley
After acquiring Jared Dudley as part of the three-team trade that the Clippers attained Reddick in, it appears likely that both will be in the starting lineup on opening night. Dudley will likely be the team's starting small forward, with the expectation that he will help to provide some shooting and defensive prowess.
3. DeAndre Jordan
During the 2012-2013 season, DeAndre Jordan showed signs of becoming one of the best centers in the NBA, and Doc Rivers has made it clear during the opening days of training camp that he believes he will reach this potential sooner rather than later. Jordan is a lock to not only be on the Clippers roster come opening day, but will also be the team's starting center.
2. Blake Griffin
Despite showing regression in terms of statistics in each of his third season, there is some questioning going on in Los Angeles over whether or not Blake Griffin can be a championship caliber power forward. These questions will not put his status on the team in doubt but they will provide a challenge for Doc Rivers to overcome.
1. Chris Paul
After signing a five-year $107.3 million contract over the summer, there is absolutely no doubt over whether Chris Paul will be the Clippers starting point guard on opening night. What is in doubt is whether or not Paul can help the Clippers attain the playoff success that has eluded them the past two seasons.