Clippers’ bench has already beaten starters in training camp


Sep 25, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32), guard C.J. Wilcox (30), center Cole Aldrich (45), guard Wesley Johnson (33) and head coach Doc Rivers during media day at the Clipper Training Facility in Playa Vista. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers’ training camp is underway, meaning that they can finally begin to put their host of new talent into organized practice along with their elite core of starters. After their media day, we’ve already had a glimpse of how the players and Doc Rivers rate the potential, and it’s safe to say the Clippers are highly confident in their improved potential and versatility.

Possibly the most important reason why is their new bench, who are already proving that they can compete with starting lineups as talented as the Clippers’ main five.

As Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times reported via Twitter, the new second unit are taking shape after their first day of training camp:

Whilst they clearly won’t be able to beat the starting five every time they scrimmage, this is still extremely encouraging when considering how much the likes of Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith and Cole Aldrich can improve this team.

The biggest issue for the Clippers approaching the 2015-16 NBA season is finding chemistry among their host of new players, yet with the bench reportedly performing so well in practice already, it shows they’re clearly working out the kinks in their second unit before preseason has even had a chance to begin.

However, there’s no way to deny that the Clippers new bench is talented, and the new second unit — who have aptly been named “Bench Mob” so far — gives Doc far more depth and versatility to play with. Not to the mention the possibility to utilize a combination of perimeter shooting and driving ability, with the option to use various small-ball lineups when necessary.

This kind of overall ability prompted Blake Griffin to weigh-in on just how good the back-up guys are:

After the Clippers’ bench proved themselves with a scrimmage win over the starters, Doc had the following to say about what he thinks of his new unit (per Dan Woike of the Orange County Register)

"“They were tough – really tough… Just their ability to go downhill and the spacing created issues. Obviously, we have to figure that group out. They’ve got to be a better defensive group; they have to learn each other. There are so many new guys in that group, just learning our terminology and our stuff, it’s off.”"

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Their growth so far also says a lot about the attitude that these players have adopted, and how even though their may be a lot of players in the second unit who like to control the ball (Stephenson and Jamal Crawford, for example), they can start putting that aside to adopt their necessary roles in order to contend for a championship.

Obviously this is the absolute beginning of their 2015-16 campaign, but seeing as finding chemistry with such a different roster was the primary issue approaching training camp, the fact that this kind of progress is underway already is promising to say the least.

Next: Who should Clippers start? Paul Pierce vs. Wesley Johnson