Head coach Doc Rivers has yet to coach one game for the Los Angeles Clippers, but he’s already showing the difference between an elite coaching and whatever the previous men walking the Clipper sidelines did in the past. Early in training camp, Rivers sat down with Clippers quarterback Chris Paul and reminded him that he’s not a champion, regardless of the pass he’s gotten throughout the NBA landscape. He assured Paul that the unusual generosity will eventually be met with criticism. The All-Star guard wants to win, but he also wants to be coached by someone that’s willing to hold him accountable for anything short of becoming a champion.
River’s also told forward Blake Griffin to “not be afraid to go 0-15.” Griffin’s struggles with his perimeter shot gave opponents the blue print on how to stay off of the wrong end of a Griffin highlight reel; it also gave the team less court to work with and a lot of bodies to negotiate in the paint. Griffin is a capable shooter, but it was his hesitation to shoot that allowed defenses to set itself and the “what if I miss” demons to trespass into Griffin’s head. His athleticism makes the former slam dunk champion a tough assignment for virtually anyone playing his position is the league. A consistent shot would make him a nightmare.
Griffin also expressed how much defense is stressed in this year’s training camp. For Rivers, a championship caliber team enters an arena with stopping the other guy as the No. 1 priority, something he sees as synonymous with winning, but not so much for “Lob City.” Under Rivers, the Clippers have to get open court opportunities the hard way, by forcing bad shots, boxing out and rebounding.
ChristopherBrown is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @whatrockschris. Like him on Facebook.