When looking at this year’s LA Clippers roster, it’s hard to find minutes for each deserving player.
The team’s bench is loaded with several guys who would start on other teams, raising the concern that perhaps the Clippers have too much depth. While this is a valid concern at face value, due to the possibility that players may become dissatisfied with a lesser role, this Clippers team is unique in two ways that make ample depth an asset rather than a concern.
The first of these is head coach Ty Lue. Widely regarded as one of the most malleable coaches in the league, Lue is always willing and capable to make the necessary adjustments on a nightly basis. Equipped with a roster than has several different weapons, Lue has proven the ability to deploy his player in matchups that are advantageous for the team.
The second reason why depth is a vital asset for the Clippers, and a reason Ty Lue has spoken openly about, is the team’s age and injury history. Led by a group of veterans who have concerning injury history, the LA Clippers want to utilize their depth as a preventative measure before being forced to use it as their only option.
The priority of health
With injuries robbing the Clippers each of the last two seasons, the team enters this season with extreme caution. Knowing that Kawhi Leonard is coming off a year-long absence, John Wall is coming off an even longer absence, and Paul George is coming off a season he played just 31 games in, the Clippers know that health is everything.
When asked how he plans to manage this, especially with the team having most of their back-to-back sets early in the season, Ty Lue said, “The most important thing is our players’ health. So with John and Kawhi, you know haven’t played – I think John in two years, and Kawhi like a year and three months, we gotta make sure we’re smart. Even if those guys wanna play, we gotta make sure we’re making the right decision, make sure our medical is on board, and kinda go from there.”
Lue was asked specifically before Tuesday’s practice if the team’s plethora of depth will be used as more of an asset because of their health situation, and he seemed certain that it would.
“I think with the depth we have, and the restrictions with Kawhi and John, just making sure that we’re doing the right thing by those guys. A lot of guys are gonna play, so everyone has to be ready,” Lue said.
LA Clippers depth is not an issue
The only time “too much depth” becomes an issue, is when as previously mentioned, players grow unhappy with their decreased role.
With any potential ego concerns already being shut down from top to bottom on this Clippers team, that possibility seems to be a non-issue. What makes it even less concerning, is coach Lue’s declaration that everybody will be called upon, because the team will be limiting the workload of their veterans.
Willing to take decreased roles if necessary, everybody on this Clippers team will likely serve as an integral piece to the puzzle, especially early in the year. With Ty Lue’s ability and willingness to manage a roster this deep, the team should be in a good position to use their depth as a weapon against opponents, and a shield against the injury bug.