While some members of this LA Clippers team have been together for a while now, there are some key new developments that will take time to work themselves into shape. The addition of John Wall is one of these, last year’s deadline acquisition of Norman Powell is another, and perhaps the biggest change from last year to this year is the lack of a backup center.
Mixed into these new developments is the team’s franchise player Kawhi Leonard being ramped up off the bench. In an attempt to maximize his minutes, Leonard and the team decided it was best for him to start the year off the bench while he increases his minutes restriction. This has undeniably looked awkward, as Leonard has been checking in for the first time about midway through the second quarter of each game.
As other players get comfortable in their roles, some of which are increased with Leonard limited, things have looked clunky for the Clippers so far. The team is 2-1 despite this, but some fans have voiced concerns about the lack of fluidity on the court. The team feels this, but their main emphasis continues to be patience.
The need for patience
When speaking to reporters before the season opener, Clippers head coach Ty Lue was asked if he is evaluating this season in 10-game samples like he was last year. For those unfamiliar with this philosophy, Lue evaluated last season in 10-game segments before making any changes. If changes were warranted after 10 games, based upon data and other factors, he would make them. Any trends before this 10-game sample size were deemed mostly insignificant to Lue.
When asked if he is adhering to that philosophy again this year, Lue stated clearly that it’s gonna take more than 10 games to gather enough relevant data to make adjustments this season. With so many changing parts, there is too much inconsistency to draw any major conclusions after 10 games. Because of this, expecting any major changes after just three games, is wildly unrealistic.
Will Kawhi Leonard end up back in the starting group? In due time. Will John Wall take over the starting job? Perhaps. Will Norman Powell transition into the sixth-man role? Eventually. Will the Clippers abandon complete reliance on small-ball? Time will tell.
Changes are coming for the Clippers, some of which are expected, and others that will be driven by a collection of early-season data. With Ty Lue’s track record, that much is for certain. While these changes may seem obvious to some already, the team is preaching patience for a reason. The season is long, and a three-game, or even a 10-game sample size, is simply not enough time to start shaking things up. That said, when the time is right, Ty Lue will make the necessary changes.