Blake Griffin thinks Clippers’ new depth will ‘help tremendously’


With minimal cap space available this offseason, the Los Angeles Clippers somehow managed to rebuild their bench in order to give their elite starting five an effective supporting cast. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan combine to form a superstar Big 3 at both ends of the floor, but they can’t do it all by themselves.

The Clippers’ lack of a strong bench let them down in the playoffs this year, and was ultimately one of the main reason they lost their 3-1 series lead against the Houston Rockets in their second round elimination. However, if the new talent they’ve acquired can gel together over the early weeks of the season, that lack of second unit support shouldn’t be a problem again. And that’s exactly what Blake Griffin believes to be the case.

Rowan Kavner of the Clippers’ official website spoke with Griffin, and reported his following statement on their new depth:

"“It’ll help a lot. My third season in the league when we had that unbelievable bench, I think I dropped to like 32 minutes a game in the regular season… You definitely feel fresher toward the end, but you have to find that right balance of not holding back too much, being able to give everything. Having an elite bench is going to help us tremendously, especially come playoff time.”"

Especially for Griffin, the host of new role players can help him more than anyone in the Clippers’ starting five. He averaged 35.2 minutes per game last season, and that number only escalated in the playoffs as he put in 39.8 minutes a night. With the arrival of Josh Smith, though — who has great potential to succeed in L.A. as an explosive player in transition, a better stretch-four than Glen Davis, and a highly versatile defender — Griffin can up his rest time.

Jul 21, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers players pose with jerseys at press conference at Staples Center. From left: Branden Dawson (22), DeAndre Jordan (6), Austin Rivers (25), coach Doc Rivers and Josh Smith (5), Cole Aldrich (45), Paul Pierce (34) and Wesley Johnson (33). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

DeAndre Jordan also has new backup in the form of Cole Aldrich, who’s a major defensive upgrade over Spencer Hawes. The poor play of Hawes, at both ends of the floor, resulted in him playing just 7.1 minutes per game in the playoffs. Yet, whilst Aldrich probably won’t receive more than 15 minutes in the regular season, he can still make a real difference. As when you look at his per 36 minute averages from last season of 12.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks, it’s safe to say he’s more than a capable defender to come off the bench. Which is especially valuable for a Clippers team who only ranked 15th in defensive efficiency last year.

More from Clipperholics

As for the likes of Lance Stephenson, Paul Pierce, Wesley Johnson and Pablo Prigioni, we’ve yet to see how they will all work out on their new team. Pierce is surely going to deliver as he always has throughout his career, and given some time, the rest of the Clippers’ new wing players should be able to reach their potential when surrounded by so much talent in Los Angeles.

And if Branden Dawson continues to prove himself as a major defensive energizer and rebounder like he did in Summer League, maybe he can even find a few minutes here and there, too.

With all their new pieces, it’s surely just a matter of time till the Clippers turn their talent on paper into a team that’s worthy of contending for a championship this season. Now, we just need to let them put that plan into action. But as Griffin said, “having an elite bench is going to help tremendously, especially come playoff time”.

There’s no way to argue with that. And thankfully for the Clippers, that’s exactly what they have now.

Next: Lance Stephenson has a perfect chance for redemption in L.A.