We’re seven games into the NBA season and the Los Angeles Clippers are currently 4-3. The new faces are adjusting to Doc River‘s system and the old faces, mainly Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are showing the kind of improvement that you hope they would. And watching this team it made me wonder how the former Clippers players of last season are doing, so I decided to take a look at their personal and team success.
Eric Bledsoe – PHX
He’s the star of this group. During his first week with the Phoenix Suns (traded this past summer for J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley), he’s shown why the Clippers held on to him for as along as possible. Five games into the season, Bledsoe is averaging 20.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists while posting a PER of 24.9. He’s struggling from behind the three-point line, but his game across the board has been next level and his team, surprisingly, is 4-2. Looking ahead two things could be in Bledsoe’s future: the award for Most Improved Player in the NBA and a max contract come the summer time.
(Here’s his first game winner as a starting point guard. Terrible shot selection, but positive results > the process).
Chauncey Billups – DET
It’s nice to see Chauncey Billups as he’s returned to the Detroit Pistons, a team he helped win a NBA championship in 2004, but at this point you have to wonder why he isn’t in someone’s front office or sideline rather than on the court. With the nice offseason the Pistons had this past summer, Billups was expected to be a low-minutes type player while helping mentor young new faces in Brandon Jennings and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but an injury to BJ forced Billups to play more minutes than Detroit needs him too. For some perspective on how Billups played, let’s just say he was better last year which says a lot. Billups is currently playing 27 minutes per game (WAY TOO HIGH) while averaging 6.6 points per game (a career low) and is keeping KCP on the bench which is the opposite of what Detroit should be trying to do. We’ll see if Mo Cheeks keeps up this charade going forward because Billups just doesn’t have it in him to be a high impact guy anymore, especially on a potential playoff team.
Lamar Odom – NONE
After dealing with as bizarre an offseason a NBA player can deal with, murmurs have arisen that Odom is getting himself in shape to make a return to the NBA. Odom’s talent are a known quantity and it’s unclear if a team will want to deal with the media circus that comes with signing LO, but some, like Marc Stein of ESPN think he’ll return to the league later in the season:
Nothing will realistically happen until we get to January or February at the soonest, but I’m starting to hear that he really does have his eye on a second-half comeback. And he’s still too seasoned and skilled at 34, no matter what potential concerns you want to raise, for teams not to give him a look. (Just to throw out one example: You’re telling me Oklahoma City, as thin as the Thunder look, wouldn’t have interest in a gamble on a minimum-salaried Odom with his close friend Derek Fisher in place as a welcoming committee?)
via Eight Fearless Predictions for 2013-14 | Stein Line Live
Caron Butler – MIL
The most recent buzz about the Clippers former small forward has been less about his play for the Milwaukee Bucks and more about his on-the-court shenanigans. Performing Sam Cassell’s trademark “Big Balls Dance” in a close victory over the Boston Celtics, the NBA fined Caron Butler for the dance, deeming it an ‘obscene gesture’. Here’s a photo of the dance.
As far as his play goes, he’s putting up numbers similar last year: 11.0 points and five rebounds. He’s averaging less than one assist per game and is shooting 36 percent from the field. Meh.
Ronny Turiaf – MIN
Unfortunate news for center Ronny Turiaf.
#Twolves announce Ronny Turiaf underwent a MRI this morning at TRIA Orthopedics that revealed a radial head fracture of the right elbow.
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) November 2, 2013
Here is footage of the injury which occurred earlier last week.
This isn’t an injury we hear about often, moreso the radial head part of the equation. Turiaf isn’t a game-changer, but he was pivotal to the Minnesota Timberwolves (says a lot about their big man depth) lineup, sparring Nikola Pekovic from playing heavy minutes and giving Minny a shot-blocking presence in the paint. There hasn’t been an official release from the team noting the amount of time Turiaf will miss, but six to eight weeks has been thrown around. A speedy recovery is hopeful for Turiaf.
Grant Hill – NBA TV
Yes, Hill has retired, but it doesn’t mean we can’t keep up what he’s doing. After 17 excellent years on the basketball court, Hill has jump-started his television career becoming the host of NBA Inside Stuff’. The shows original run ended in 2005, but Hill and co-host Kristen Ledlow have resurrected the show. Here is a clip featuring Grant Hill and Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Garnett.