Rather than the working vacation I’d hoped would put me in Las Vegas covering the Clippers in Summer League, I’m doing some work around the house, surfing and enjoying the fact that the June Gloom has finally burned off, so this is gong to be a short update on what the Clippers have done and are planning to do.
First of all, I’ve watched both Summer League games and there are some positives and some negatives to take away from the Clippers’ 0-2 start.
– Al-Farouq Aminu is an athletic wing who will be able to keep pace in the Clippers’ up-tempo offense. He may not need to start the season at the three for the Clippers (more on that later), but he will be ready to learn on the job if need be. A fluid athlete who is very active on the boards.
– Eric Bledsoe is, just as I predicted, a guy who is a little raw but has enormous upside to his game. He has displayed a good stroke and a keen eye for distributing the ball to his teammates so they’re ready to finish the play. They haven’t always finished the play but he’ll be passing to superior talent come October.
– Sofoklis Schortsanitis – “Baby Shaq” has been changed to “Summer Shaq” as the Greek center has shown up in relatively good shape (he’s never going to be confused for Blake Griffin) and has been active in limited minutes. All reports say he may be headed back to Europe if the Clippers don’t offer him a better-than-minimum contract, but I hope he stays and sees how he can do in training camp.
– DeAndre Jordan – I have high hopes for the third-year center, thinking that this might be the year he finally puts his incredible talent to use and becomes a guy the Clippers can turn to to spell Chris Kaman when they want to go up-tempo or when the All-Star needs a breath. So far, his performance has been very disappointing. Not just the numbers (18 points, 9 rebounds in 55 minutes over two games) but in the way he is out there against rookies, free agents and guys hoping to make enough of a mark to get an invite to a team’s camp. Jordan should be dominating these guys and he looks far from dominant. The delusional optimism that is conditioned in me as a Clippers fan hopes that it’s merely because the big man’s game needs some structure to be effective and Summer League isn’t a structured place, but I’m left with a big question mark on Jordan, who I thought was going to be a real asset for the team this year.
The team plans to bring in Tracy McGrady for a workout next week.
I was just talking to some of my friends who are Warriors fans, saying that McGrady might be a nice addition to the W’s roster that currently has a hole at the small forward position. McGrady is but a shell of his former self but looked rejuvenated last season after being traded to the Knicks, where his talent meshed with the up-tempo style the team plays. If they can get him in on a contract that makes fiscal sense, he may be a good bridge to the future of Clipperland, where young talent is stockpiled and built upon ala the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Alright, that’s all for now, thanks for checking in.