Doc Rivers‘ failure to improve his bench last offseason was the biggest reason why the Clippers squandered a 3-1 series lead to the Rockets, Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk opines. Fatigue and a lack of quality role players contributed significantly to their collapse and that falls on Rivers, who holds the dual role of coach and president of basketball operations, Helin continues. Spending the team’s entire mid-level exception on Spencer Hawes, who fell out of the rotation late in the regular season, was a mistake. That killed their chances of a Paul Pierce-Rivers reunion, while Rivers’ other offseason signings — Jordan Farmar, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jared Cunningham and Ekpe Udoh — made no impact, according to Helin. Along with re-signing DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers need more depth to take the next step, Helin concludes.
In other news involving the Clippers:
- Rivers acknowledged to Sam Amick of USA Today the challenge the Clippers face to upgrade their roster with limited resources, given their constraints against the cap. “I want to fix it,” Rivers told the USA Today scribe. “I want to win. That’s why I came here. I knew when I came here that roster-wise it was going to be very difficult. The first thing I did before I took this job, I looked at the roster and we laughed. I was like, ‘What the [expletive] can we do with this?’ It was more the contracts. But we have to try to do it somehow. I don’t know how yet, but something will work out.”
- The Clippers could open some flexibility via trade, but Rivers seemed to indicate a preference for keeping the core together, as Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com relays. “You don’t rule out anything, but I like our group,” Rivers said. “I really do. Teams that have stuck it out, in the long run if you look at sports history, have done better than teams that have blown it up. We’re really close, clearly. It might be a defensive guy; it might be one more guy. I don’t know yet.”
- Rivers affirmed he has no desire to overhaul the roster since the team was so close to making the Western Conference Finals, Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
- Trading Chris Paul would allow Blake Griffin to expand his game, refresh the team’s talent base and give it a new identity, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report speculates. The team gets overly emotional and loses its composure in the most difficult of situations and a radical step might be needed to change that dynamic, Ding concludes.