Let’s not overreact: The LA Clippers can turn it around

Mar 23, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers reacts during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers reacts during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s no secret, the LA Clippers have had an interesting season to say the least. While it has been hard to watch at times, there is no reason to overreact.

Like most of you all, I watched the Clippers have an up and down past few games—I guess you could say an up and down season if we are being honest. The Clippers struggled, and lost, against the Dallas Mavericks, a team unlikely to make the playoffs, and then beat their probable eventual playoff opponent, the Utah Jazz. They then followed up their win against the Jazz by blowing an 18 point lead with five minutes left to the Sacramento Kings, a lottery team.

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I get it, the Clippers have been less than stellar most of the season. Sure they have been injured but so have other teams. What I don’t get is all the overreacting I have seen. From the always interesting Facebook comments to the arm-chair GM’s of Twitter, people are really freaking out. As I’m writing this, there is a thread on the Clippers Reddit about the need to blow this Clippers team up.

I can understand the uncertainty to an extent; it has been rough season. The Clippers will likely hit 50 wins again this season though, so is it really that bad?

Before I can tell you why you shouldn’t overreact, I guess we should go over why the Clippers have been “struggling”.

The Struggle is Real.

Of the two big problems I see, the biggest would have to be the ball movement. Too often this season the team has struggled to get into their sets. This problem is more prevalent when the bench comes in. They struggle to move the ball and end up settling for a Jamal bail out shot. So instead of the bench coming in and holding or extending the lead, they normally make the games closer than they should be. In my opinion, when this happens the starters come in and start forcing things, which in turn leads to turnovers and more bad shots.

The second biggest issue I see is the lack of effort on defense. Just like with the offense, they struggle to find consistency. If you’ve watch the Clippers play, you have likely noticed the missed assignments and poor rotations. When you struggle to rotate it leads to wide open shots. How demoralizing are wide open shots?

Easy Fix.

When you put both of these problems together, it makes for some sloppy basketball, which is what we have seen a lot of. The good thing about all of this though is it’s an easy fix.

Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Clippers /

Los Angeles Clippers

Both of the problems come back to confidence and effort, and those go hand in hand.

When the Clippers play with effort and swagger—confidence for the older audience—they are almost unbeatable. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the first quarter of the season. LA went 16-5 including a 14-2 stretch. They were easily the best team in league before the injuries and such started happening.

When the playoffs roll around every team plays with more effort. It’s just natural because the games actually mean something. Once you start playing with a sense of urgency and effort, your defense becomes quicker on rotations. You start to communicate better, which leads to more stops. The more stops you get, the more fast-break buckets you get. The more fast-break buckets you get, the more confident you get in your game. I think you guys get the gist, right?

My point is that the problems the Clippers have are probably the easiest to fix. Playing with more effort is just something you can always do. The easy way to gain more confidence is to see the ball go in the basket a few times. (Just ask Jamal.) I’m not denying the fact that the Clippers have problems, I just think that they are easily fixed. If LA can fix the problems they can make a serious run in the playoffs. We will just have to wait and see if they can get it together.

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