Flexible Consistency a Necessity for Clippers


We’re almost twenty games into the season and the Los Angeles Clippers are hovering just above .500.

Its easy to remind oneself not to overreact to a Clippers four-game losing streak in October. However, emotions get the best of us when watching the Clips struggle to contain Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on back-to-back nights.

On the other end, watching the Clippers close out — at the time — the number-two-seeded Cavs on a 21-6 run makes them look invincible.

Mediocre Start

The Clippers start definitely could be better but in comparison to other teams — not to name names, the Warriors — it’s not actually that bad.

Which is a feeling akin to just passing a midterm and then going on to find out that your mark was above the class average.

The Clips are still well within striking distance of a top seed in the west. No team has been able to pull away from the rest of the pack, yet.

The Clippers are in a similar position as they were last year when they had no Kawhi Leonard. They sat at 17-15 until Paul George would ultimately miss an extended period of time with an elbow injury.

Unfortunately it is still unknown when Kawhi will be all the way back to 100%.

Status of the Klaw

Kawhi recently played his first game in over a month. While his bucket getting and minutes were limited, he certainty left his mark on the game.

Leonard has appeared in very few games so far this year and with limited minutes.

“Like I said, it’s a two-year process,” Leonard said of whether he is past what held him out for the previous 12 games. “Everybody thinks it’s a one-year process, but we don’t know. We’ll see what happens once we keep moving forward.” Leonard told ESPN after his start against the Pistons.

While it is not the most assuring news hearing your star player say “we don’t know.” Especially when referring to a seemingly unexpected 12-game absence early in the season. There’s not much you can do as a Clipper fan aside from exercising patience and putting “fully healthy Kawhi” at the top of your Christmas list.

Silver Linings

You never want to see injuries happen, but with them comes opportunity.

The main benefactor being Paul George. Who is showing us all, again, just how good he can be as a number-one option. With Kawhi still working his way back, the brunt of the load rests on PG’s shoulders. After an inconsistent start, PG has been doing literally everything for the Clips.

PG showcased this with his 35-point performance during a Halloween showdown with the Rockets. As well has a season-high six steals, one of which was sandwiched between his game-tying and game-winning shots.

Unless George knows how to speed up Kawhi’s healing process, there isn’t much else the Clippers can ask him to do.

Another player who has taken advantage of the increase in opportunity is Ivica Zubac.

As the lone center regularly getting rotation minutes, Zubac has been excellent to start the year. Big Zu is putting up monster rebounding numbers — averaging a double double — and has been one of the NBA’s top shot blockers.

Marcus Morris has been a constant for the Clips so far this year despite their inconsistent team play. Morris has only failed to reach double-digit points once this season.

He has been shooting the lights out from all over the court, which is even more impressive when you consider how difficult some of the shots he takes are. Morris’ patented fadeaway has been automatic, scoring on 60% of his isolations so far this year.

Flexible Consistency

Consistency is important for all the Clips, especially PG, but a team with as many talented players as the Clippers requires everyone to be flexible. Flexible consistency may be an oxymoron, but being able to change your own play in order for team success is important.

It’s easy for some players to say they’ll sacrifice playing time and touches to win a championship. However, actually sacrificing is much harder. Especially when the promises of a championship in June look bleak when problems arise in the winter months.

One of the biggest sacrifices this year comes at the point-guard position. With John Wall in and out of the lineup for injury management, Reggie Jackson‘s role can be quite different game to game.

While the sample size without Wall is small, Reggie’s numbers are markedly better when he is the lone point guard. There are increases across the board when comparing games with Wall to those without.

As the season progresses, players need to expect Ty Lue to continue experimenting with many lineup variations. The Clippers have even played five different players at center despite only having two centers on the roster.

About Josh Douglas

Josh is a fan of shot creators, big guys that play like guards, and on-court accessories. He is an avid supporter of all things Clippers and 76ers. Josh writes about the L.A. Clippers.

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