Five Things Learned from the Clippers Preseason

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Oct 12, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Will Barton (5) defends Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

3) Three-guard lineups will be a thing this season

How do you cover up small forward issues that could bleed throughout the regular season and postseason? I personally don’t know, but the answer from Doc Rivers seems to be three-guard lineups.

The Clippers have interesting candidates for this particular scenario: Chris Paul, Jordan Farmar, Jared Cunningham, J.J. Redick, and Jamal Crawford. Of the five mentioned, four can comfortably create off the dribble — the lone excerpt being Redick — and the playoffs showed us in late-game scenarios that Rivers favors having more than one creator on the floor, even if it means the offense is somewhat compromised (*looks at Jamal Crawford*).

Here’s the issue though, as you’ve likely already figured out once you notice the above-mentioned names: offensively you’ll have on issues, especially if Paul is on the floor, but regardless of the trio, the defense … will … be … bad.

Unable to pull up preseason numbers, I decided to dig through last years data found on three-guard lineups and this is what I found:

  • Regular Season: the trio of Crawford-Darren Collison-Paul posted a defensive rating of 100.2 in 161 minutes of play.
  • Regular Season: the trio of Crawford-Redick-Paul posted a defensive rating of 104.2 in 101 minutes of play.
  • Playoffs: the trio of Crawford-Collison-Paul posted a defensive rating of 117.6 in 74 minutes of play.
  • Playoffs: the trio of Crawford-Redick-Paul posted a defensive rating of 112.2 in 44 minutes of play.
  • Playoffs: the trio of Collison-Crawford-Redick posted a defensive rating of 106.4 in 27 minutes of play.

What does this mean? Exactly what we thought — they won’t defend well at all. To make matters worse, if Rivers chooses to go with a three-guard lineup plus Spencer Hawes, all facets of defense will lack sorely — Deandre Jordan and some Ekpe Udoh could help salvage some resemblance of team defense.

The positive? None of these units, regardless of their putrid defensive ratings, posted a negative net rating meaning the offense outshone the defense. It’s not the perfect scenario to be in, but if the small forward situation doesn’t solve itself, the Clippers will rely solely on out-gunning other teams.

Fun right?