Los Angeles Clippers have all their pieces after months of waiting. After confirming the return to the bubble of Montrezl Harrell, the Angelina franchise will have the entire cast of accessories for the first time since last March 8. Precisely that day they faced their main rival for the center of the Western Conference: Los Angeles Lakers.
The addition of Harrell is welcome by all but also presents an overwhelming dilemma for which Doc Rivers has been preparing throughout the course. Discover how to reduce one of the league’s deepest and most versatile rosters to an effective eight- or nine-man rotation.
The Clippers have used ten-man rotations for most of the season, with outsiders like Rodney McGruder, Patrick Patterson or Terance Mann producing occasionally. Shrinking this cast of players even further isn’t easy, considering what’s at stake, including legacies, egos, and future earnings.
Thus, there are several questions that crowd on Rivers’ personal mailbox.
How to distribute the inner minutes?
There is a poorly formed interpretation of the Clippers’ performance at ‘5’. The many options do not reflect low productivity but rather a wide range of options intensified by the various problems faced during the season.
Ivica Zubac perfectly fulfills her role of starting center with a limited role and an interior anchor value. In games like the one played against the Phoenix Suns or the Dallas Mavericks, this was even higher. For his part, Harrell has emerged as the ‘5’ most decisive in the league, coming off the bench and JaMyChal Green He has responded with ease when he has had to fulfill functions of containment and opening of the field.
It will be important to distribute the 48 minutes effectively among the three. While Zubac and Harrell have played eminently « 5, » Green’s greater versatility within Rivers’ system allows him to combine with power forward as well. Everything will depend, of course, on whether the opponent in front presents a more manageable inside game or front-line colossi like Anthony Davis or Nikola Jokic.
Who should close the last spot in the rotation?
Impossible dilemma. A large part of the teams will opt for an already defined rotation as a result of the existing cohesion and the few options present beyond the eighth man. There are always exceptions. Some matches require different systems, rotations, and players. Injuries and foul problems will appear. But the standards mark the number ‘9’ as the perfect balance figure.
The starting quintet, presumably by Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley are unmovable. The minutes of the second unit will be absorbed by Lou williams, Montrezl Harell and JaMychal Green. Eight defined names.
The headline strength revolves around the wings, the defense and the clutch. Centimeters, energy, muscle and scoring make up the bulk of the bench. The ninth gap could be established at a midpoint between both versions. If so, there are two main candidates for this honor: Reggie jackson or Landry Shamet. The first, a microwave. The second, a balance between both facets.
Which players should close matches?
It is not so difficult to establish a starting quintet or a second unit, easy to correct and adjust, as a line-up capable of closing the meetings when the opponent squeezes.
Beverley, Williams and Harrell, three of the favorites to join Leonard and George at the end of games, left the bubble for a variety of reasons in the weeks following their arrival in Orlando. These absences have not allowed Rivers to use his full arsenal during seed games, causing even more confusion.
Once again, it will depend on the rival that is in front but the lack of filming of any of them (mainly in the case of Harrell) could displace some of the less common towards the first line of fire. Be that as it may, the fish for these last places (Kawhi and George are indisputable) will be sold between Green, Williams, Harrell, Morris, Zubac and Shamet. Doc Rivers has all the flexibility in the world to mix, knit, combine and correct these combinations as you please.
What about unpredictable variables?
In the NBA It is impossible to establish an action plan not subject to possible unforeseen events. As the playoffs unfold, the dynamics can change unexpectedly.
As taboo as some treat the issue as taboo, the threat from the coronavirus lurks inside and outside the bubble. Aside from the hypothetical calamity of an internal outbreak, players may be subject to sudden dropouts for various reasons, as has been the case before. In addition, there is the always irremediable factor of injuries, capable of ruining any type of previous planning.
In turn, a reality as particular as the current one can throw up various situations. A system that decreases its performance, two players that stop marrying each other, a secondary that suddenly assumes the gallons in attack, unforeseen rotations or problems typical of the isolated environment of the bubble. This is the randomness in which the season is mired after its restart.
The talent and depth of Los Angeles Clippers is the envy of much of the league. But circumstances can change suddenly due to important situations or mere whim. The real challenge is none other than that: determining how and when to act and how to overcome possible adversities that may arise along the way.