Here’s the first set of answers…
– How would you characterize the team chemistry off the court? Do the guys get along well?
– Why isn’t Gordon playing more?
– Is the team discouraged?
One thing you don’t have to worry about is the team chemistry. From my dealings with the team, their mood before and after games, and just my sense of how much they hang out off the court, it seems this year’s Clippers are pretty tight. A lot of the guys are family men, so they spend most of their time with their wives and children.
But here are my impressions of the guys and the roles they play on the team. Marcus Camby is everyone’s big brother. Cuttino Mobley is everyone’s fun older brother. Yesterday Eric Gordon said that Mobley was “the funniest guy on the team,” which kind of suprised me since Cat generally comes off as the wise elder in his dealings with us.
Baron Davis and Ricky Davis have know each other forever. Ditto for Baron and Jason Hart, who played Pop Warner football together.
Al Thornton is pretty quiet, but has come out of his shell a lot this year and is quietly developing into a respected voice in the locker room.
Tim Thomas and Steve Novak are great guys to deal with. The kind of guys who like hanging in the locker room, talk to everyone and have enough humility to take responsibility for their mistakes.
The rookies are flat out hilarious. Everyone picks on Mike Taylor for being too skinny, on Eric Gordon because they call him “The Hobbit” and DeAndre Jordan for being a total goofy kid.
Why don’t we see Gordon get more minutes? He and the team as a whole could really benefit by being in the back court with Baron. Plus, we’ve seen Mobley & Ricky Davis struggle, so why doesn’t Dunleavy try to see if the rookie can get something going. He brings scoring and we could use that when up against these 22-0, 18-0, etc. runs from the other teams. Plus, Mobley and a few other players seem to be logging too many minutes and are running out of gas.
What’s up with Ricky? He’s been really struggling to find his shot.
I wrote a story in today’s paper dealing with exactly this issue. Basically, Gordon’s time will come, but five games in isn’t time to push the panic button. He’s got two veterans ahead of him and Dunleavy would like to give them a chance to get rolling before making the move to Gordon. Playing Gordon in favor of Ricky or Cat right now would really upset team chemistry, since both Ricky and Cat are well-respected players and personalities. Also, each has a long enough track record to be given some time to figure it out and get going.
Gordon, while a prolific scorer, still needs to work on his team defense. He can improve on recognizing coverages, sets, etc. He admitted as much in my story.
That said, if Ricky doesn’t get it going soon, say in 5 or 10 more games, Gordon will get his shot sooner rather than later. Ricky is a guy who plays well with the ball in his hands, and the offense flowing through him. That hasn’t happened yet this year, which is why he’s struggled to find his rhythm. But he’s mentioned the last few days that he’s feeling more comfortable and will be more aggressive.