New Years Resolutions for Kawhi Leonard, Paul George & the LA Clippers

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 19: A view of the court at Staples Center during the game between the LA Clippers and the Houston Rockets on December 19, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 19: A view of the court at Staples Center during the game between the LA Clippers and the Houston Rockets on December 19, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON – DECEMBER 11: Head Coach Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers reacts to a call by an official during the first half of an NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on December 11, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – DECEMBER 11: Head Coach Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers reacts to a call by an official during the first half of an NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on December 11, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Doc Rivers – Zubac, Green, and Monitoring Health

Doc admitted in the Christmas Day post-game that he made a mistake in taking so long to get JaMychal Green in the game, so we can expect Green’s involvement to get back to pre-injury status fairly soon.

But what perplexes so many Clippers fans is his limiting of Ivica Zubac‘s minutes, and having his only true source of size to disappear in the late game. Trezz’s motor and scoring is big, yes, but we shouldn’t be married to Harrell and Lou Will having to be together 90% of the time.

A low-key impactful trait of Zubac’s is his chemistry with Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi likes Zu, and Zu knows what Kawhi wants. Zubac’s rim protection has shown that the early speculating of possibly needing to get a Joakim Noah-type (which I had considered myself) is unnecessary. Zubac doesn’t need help. He just needs more time on the floor to increase his impact.

Zubac should not be averaging only 17 minutes a game. Harrell has minutes to give, and it might be in the best interests of both if the Zubac-Harrell minutes scales started to even out a little more.

Obviously, Harrell should be getting more minutes, I don’t think anyone’s arguing that the distribution should be flipped. But if we’re seeing 29 minutes Harrell / 17 minutes Zubac right now, it might actually be better for Trezz’s health and Zubac’s production if that distribution was closer to 26-20, or even 25-21. Doc should consider that and make that a point of emphasis coming into the new year.

Finally, Doc has done a great job of keeping lineups in motion and not overplaying his superstars. Just… keep it going, really. It’s very telling that on Christmas he made a point of stepping away at halftime and allowing his players to talk out the problems they were having on the floor.

He’s letting Kawhi Leonard be the leader of this team and letting folks like Pat Bev and Lou Will act as Kawhi’s lieutenants that keep the team in sync. Doc knows when he needs to get on his guys, and he also knows when to shut the hell up and let them figure it out on their own. Maintaining that balance is going to be the key to winning a championship.

And let’s be honest — he would know. He coached Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo to a championship.