Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports that almost losing DeAndre Jordan to the Mavericks made him realize how fragile a franchise’s window of contention can be, and it pushed him to improve the team as a whole this summer. “Losing him would’ve always gnawed at me,” Rivers said. “But it wouldn’t have stopped me. I would’ve said, [expletive] that, we’re going to figure out a way to get this right.’ But it also triggered something else for me. It might have been my front-office wake-up call. I was not a pleasant guy to me, or my staff, after I thought we lost him – and even after we got him back. We had a lot of ‘come-to-Jesus’ meetings.”
“And we rolled up our sleeves, and we got better,” Rivers continued. “Listen, maybe it’s because when we got here, the team was pretty good and we didn’t think we had to get that much better. I don’t know why. At end of the day, even the way D.J. did it, it turned out to be a blessing for our franchise. For me, it made me understand fully. We’ve got to do this [expletive] right, and build this team. It’s our responsibility.”
Here’s more from out West:
- It remains to be seen if the Grizzlies can manufacture enough offense from the outside to take the next step toward a title, and while the team has improved in this area over the summer, Memphis may be lucky just to escape the first round of the playoffs, Tim Bontemps of New York Post (Facebook link) opines in his season preview.
- After a 2014/15 campaign that saw him shoot an abysmal 11.1% from beyond the arc, Brandon Rush hopes to emerge as a viable sixth man candidate for the Warriors this season, Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com writes. “It was a bad year for me, an awful year,” Rush told Poole. “It was one of the worst years I’ve ever had, individually. I’ve shot in the mid-40s [from three-point range] for most of my career. To be able to go out there last year and not be able to make a shot, not be able to play . . . it made me hungry to get into the gym and go hard this summer.”