Clippers’ Media Day Takeaways

The LA Clippers’ Media Day concluded, and basketball is ready to commence. As per every team’s Media Day, optimism arises from quotes, and excitement builds. This was no different for the blue and red squad from Los Angeles. From returning superstar Kawhi Leonard to head coach Ty Lue. This team is ready to rock, and training camp begins the start of their journey for their first title.

Clippers’ Media Day Takeaways

The team is Fully Ready for Training Camp

Last season, the Clippers faced the injury bug like never before. From Leonard’s ACL, Paul George’s elbow, Norman Powell’s toe, and COVID, they climbed an uphill battle all season. But, in an un-Clippers-like turn of events, the team is fully healthy and ready for the start of training camp.

Most importantly, Leonard is ready to go. During his media availability, he claimed that the “plan is to start camp tomorrow and play.” He also mentioned feeling stronger coming into this season. Of course, the team will be cautious with their approach. But nonetheless, it is great to hear that Leonard will be playing basketball again after nearly 14 months. 

In addition to commenting on his health, Leonard also mentioned that John Wall is “looking great” from what he has seen. Another great sign for the team as Wall had missed all of last season. With his open competition for the starting point guard spot starting, he will need to be as fresh as he can if he wants to take on that role. Not like it is a huge priority. More on that later.

Additionally, Morris said that he lost ten pounds since he missed the past two training camps due to his knee. Ivica Zubac is also ready to go after suffering an ankle injury during Eurobasket. No team stays healthy the entire season, but it is a good sign that this team is off to a good (knock on wood) start to build their foundation.

Season of Sacrifice

Lue noted that this season, everyone is going to have to sacrifice. Whether It is minutes, touches, or games, mainly due to the fact that they have a loaded roster, roles will have to be redefined for most. A great example of the players accepting Lue’s plan is Wall’s outlook on the starter competition with Reggie Jackson. “Whatever [Lue] wants me to do, I’m willing to accept.” It takes a lot of humility for a multi-time All-Star to be accepting of any role given to him.

With over ten-plus guys who are able to contribute, it, unfortunately, means that minutes will be cut, and some deserving players may not see the floor at all. Training camp will be the beginning for Lue to figure out his rotations and see who gets to play. He will also use the preseason games as a barometer for this as well. Look for him to also use the first chunk of regular season games as well due to the overwhelming depth of the squad.

Norman Powell has Lofty Goals

Powell has been great no matter what he has been asked so far in his brief Clippers tenure. An injury took away a majority of his season with them, but he showed what he was capable of in the games that he was healthy. At one point, he was the team’s best player, so his ability cannot be denied.

In his media availability, he was asked about his personal goals for the upcoming season. He mentioned two that many Clipper fans might not have envisioned. All-Star and starter. While the first is very far-fetched, the second is more attainable. Not to say that Powell could not be an All-Star on another team, but how loaded the team is and the fact that he plays with two other superstars hurts his chances.

At first, hearing that he wants to start was a bit confusing. Especially considering that Lue likes to play with big wings as starters. We are likely to see George at the two, Leonard at the three, and one of Morris, Nicolas Batum, or Robert Covington at the four. However, it is not completely out of the realm of possibility that Powell can sneak into the starting lineup. He is not a true point guard, so it is unlikely that he would take Jackson or Wall’s spot. But with Leonard seemingly bulking up and feeling stronger, there is a chance that he can slide to the four. Thus paving the way for Powell to start at the two and sliding George to the three.

Personally, I do not believe that Lue will sacrifice the size and length to add more scoring to a unit that will likely have enough as it is. However, I admire Powell’s ambition. The man averaged 20 points per game last season and gave the team a new wrinkle of attack to their offense. The goal is lofty, yes, but not likely. Nonetheless, the team will be fine, whoever starts around Leonard and George. And I look forward to seeing the combinations that Lue puts out there.