Clippers coach Doc Rivers poses with five new players and DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers at Tuesday’s news conference/Staff photo by Robert Casillas
It was Tuesday, about 12:30 p.m., and Doc Rivers had just finished playing host to a news conference at Staples Center. He was there to re-introduce DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers (Doc’s son), as well as five new players, to the Los Angeles media. The five included forwards Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, Wesley Johnson and Branden Dawson and center Cole Aldrich; Dawson was picked No. 56 in the June draft, the other four were signed as free agents.
The question now is, what’s the lineup and the overall rotation going to look like?
“I have an idea,” said Doc Rivers, who will be entering this third season as head coach.
With small forward Matt Barnes now gone via a trade, will Pierce start in his spot? Perhaps it will be Smith. Or Lance Stephenson, who earlier this off-season was introduced after coming over in the trade with the Charlotte Hornets for Barnes and Spencer Hawes.
Doc Rivers wouldn’t say.
“I want to make them play,” he said.
In other words, there will be a fight for that spot, as well as for playing time in general.
At 37, Pierce may be better suited to come off the bench. And since Stephenson could be used at three different positions – guard, point guard and small forward – he might be more useful as a reserve as well. That would seem to leave Smith with the best shot at starting at small forward. Smith, who can play power forward as well, could spell Blake Griffin at that spot, too.
This is not to discount Johnson, who played the past two seasons with the Lakers. He can play both small forward and shooting guard.
The obvious starters at this moment are J.J. Redick and Chris Paul at the guard spots, Jordan at center and Griffin at power forward.