When Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy pencils Jason Hart’s name into the starting lineup or sends the dependable eight-year veteran into the game, he’s got a pretty good idea of what to expect.
“Jason is solid, he defends and runs your team,” Dunleavy said.
But with the Clippers starting off the season losing their first four games, maybe “solid” isn’t what the team needs. And so before the Clippers game against the Jazz on Monday night, Dunleavy decided to shake things up, elevating explosive rookie point guard Mike Taylor ahead of Hart on the depth chart.
“Mike at times is explosive,” Dunleavy said. “ “He had a really good preseason for us. With his quickness, defensively and his ability to put points on the board, transition wise, it was a little bit more what we needed right now.
“If he doesn’t show that ability, then the next guy goes again, Jason gets another shot at doing what he can do.”
In doing so, Dunleavy said he’ll have to live with Taylor’s growing pains.
“He’s a rookie, there’s going to be ups and downs. What i’m going to do with him is try to keep his confidence up,” Dunleavy said. “The first thing that is undeniable though, and you can ask any player on our team, (Taylor’s) energy and his ethic has been tremendous. Whatever happens, if it’s not good, it’s not because he wasn’t trying.”