When Doc Rivers left Boston in 2013 for Los Angeles, he did so in part because he didn’t want to go through another rebuild.
You won’t hear the word "rebuilding" when it comes to describing what he’s doing now with the Clippers.
But when you lose an All-Star (Chris Paul), one of the most accurate 3-point shooters in the league (J.J. Redick) and one of the best sixth man (Jamal Crawford) of this era – in one offseason, mind you – that is what we refer to as a team that’s rebuilding.
Regardless of the semantics, there’s little doubt that the Clippers are no longer among the favorites to contend for a title out West.
With so many new faces on the roster, developing chemistry trumps chasing titles at this point for Rivers whose GM duties will now be handled by longtime friend Lawrence Frank.
The Clippers are now a team that will be built in part around the talents of Blake Griffin and new addition Danilo Gallinari.
And like most teams, Rivers is looking to field lineups that are high on talent and versatility, even if it at times means playing smaller lineups.
“I also believe in size but it has to be versatile,” Rivers said. “If you’re gonna beat some of these other teams you’re going to have to stand out some other way.”
Leading Rivers’ versatility movement will be the 1-2 frontcourt punch of Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari.
Griffin, a five-time All-Star, will be at the epicenter of the Clippers’ efforts to remain among the better teams in the Western Conference while Gallinari arrives from Denver, where the 6-foot-10 forward has established himself as one of the better inside-outside bigs. He was pursued by a number of teams, including the Celtics, this summer in free agency.
Whether you use the term rebuilding or reshaping in describing the Clippers, the bottom line is they will play a different brand of basketball that relies more on the collective sums of their parts rather than a handful of superstars, which has been the case in recent years.
“The fact that we have versatility plus size, I feel we’ll create mismatches that way,” Rivers said.
Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Danilo Gallinari (Denver); Patrick Beverley (Houston); Lou Williams (Houston); Milos Teodosic (Serbia); Montrezl Harrell (Houston); Sam Dekker (Houston).
Key losses: Chris Paul (Houston); J.J. Redick (Philadelphia); Mo Speights (Orlando); Jamal Crawford (Minnesota); Raymond Felton (Oklahoma City); Paul Pierce (retired).
Rookies of note: Sindarius Thornwell
Expectations: 42-40 (second in the Pacific Division, eighth in the West)