Doc Rivers: A good team is the best place for a role player to excel

Wesley Johnson

Wesley Johnson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers


Wesley Johnson this week was asked about being an inconsistent player, and he said that figures to change this season now that he’s on a deep team with the likes of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul anchoring it. Keep in mind the previous two seasons Johnson was with the Lakers, one of the league’s worst teams of late.

Speaking Tuesday in general terms and not specifically about Johnson, coach Doc Rivers believes playing on a good team can make the difference for a role player.

“When you’re on a good team and a role player, you’re a better player,” he said from training camp at UC Irvine. “You play better, kind of get your role better. When you’re on a bad team, usually no one actually knows their role and everyone is fighting each other to be the man because the team’s bad, you don’t believe the guy that’s good is that good.

“So I think it’s a lot easier when you come to a team and it’s clear who the guys are.”

Jamal Crawford figures he’s supposed to be on the Clippers

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Jamal Crawford heard the rumors during the off-season, and he’s on Twitter, so he sees all that. He knew there were once again trade rumors with his name mentioned. With all the new player acquisitions, his departure seemed a possibility.

It was a bit nerve-racking, he said at training camp this week in Irvine.

“There were some stressful points, there were some points where it was like, you know what? It’s part of the business,” he said. “I was looking back, and from my first year here, the only three guys here who I played with are Blake (Griffin), D.J. (DeAndre Jordan) and Chris (Paul), and myself. So I guess in that time I’m one of those four guys who have been here. So, obviously, I’m where I’m supposed to be.”

Crawford, 35, is entering his 16th season, fourth with the Clippers.


Wesley Johnson has cool response to ‘inconsistency’ inquiry

Wesley Johnson

Wesley Johnson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers


Wesley Johnson was asked Saturday at training camp in Irvine if him being labeled an inconsistent player is a fair criticism. He averaged a career-high 9.9 points this past season for the Lakers, shooting 41.4 percent from the field – 35.1 percent from 3-point range. His response was interesting, and it made perfect sense.

“I can say that’s fair,” he said. “But I think it’ll be different this year in the aspect of we have players like Blake (Griffin), we have players like Chris (Paul) and just go down the line, man, a lot of players. So that could make consistency, that lack I have, I think that’ll go away just with the players we do have. I think that’ll help me out a lot.”

Johnson played his past two seasons with the Lakers, who during that time were one of the worst teams in the league.

Johnson has been in the league five years and has a career scoring average of 8.5 and shooting percentages of 40.9 and 34.7 (3-point).


Blake Griffin talks ‘vibe’ after first day of training camp in Irvine

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


There was quite a bit of excitement on the first day of training camp at UC Irvine on Saturday. The second unit – consisting of Jamal  Crawford, Lance Stephenson, Austin Rivers, Josh Smith and Wesley Johnson – defeated the first team in a scrimmage.

Then there was just the overall difference in the team, which includes a lot of new faces on what now is a very deep team.

Blake Griffin was asked about how different the vibe is from previous first days of training camp.

“Yeah, it’s hard to say, though, because the vibe is always different every year,” he said. “The first day is the first day. Everybody’s going 99 miles an hour and we’re all trying to hustle and just do the right things. Yeah, I think you’ll see that start to take shape a little bit more throughout the course of the preseason, obviously, throughout the season.

“But right now,. it’s hard to say, ‘Oh, the vibe is different,’ because it’s always different. It’s different when you have eight new guys or however many we have.”

Blake Griffin, Dream Center to host annual Back to School bash on Saturday

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Blake Griffin and the Dream Center on Saturday at 10 a.m. will play host to the annual Back to School Bash.

The event will benefit families from impoverished areas making under $15,000 annually. The areas include Echo Park, the Rampart District, Skid Row, Lincoln Heights, South Central L.A. and Watts.

Among the items to be distributed are 2,000 back packs, each filled with school supplies. Families can also receive free dental checkups, health screenings, haircuts, clothes and groceries.

Some of the fun stuff will include face painting, water and “slime” games, jumpers, a petting zoo and a science fair.

The Dream Center is a volunteer organization established in 1994. It is located at 2301 Bellvue Ave., Los Angeles, 90026.


Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin to attend Team USA mini-camp

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


USA Basketball on Thursday announced that Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will be among 34 players to participate in the Team USA mini-camp Aug. 11-13 in Las Vegas.

The roster is expected to include all 12 members of the 2014 gold-medal winning World Cup team as well as nine Olympic gold-medal winners – eight from the 2012 London Games team.

Paul won Olympic gold medals with Team USA in the 2008 Beijing Games as well as in London. Griffin was originally part of the 2012 team, but was forced to withdraw because of injury.

Head coach is Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.

The mini-camp will feature practices on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12 and will culminate with a showcase game between Blue and White teams Aug. 13 at Thomas & Mack Center.