The LA Clippers may have to play playoff rotations in their eight remaining games.
At the time of the trade deadline, the LA Clippers’ front office figured they had around 30 games left on the schedule for the new acquisitions and holdovers to come together and gel. No one could have predicted the outbreak of the coronavirus. That unforeseen circumstance has left the Clippers (and 21 other teams) with just eight games to work out any kinks.
Eight games isn’t a ton of time. We have to figure that the first couple will be sloppy, with teams getting back into the feel of the game. Some guys will be rustier than others due to not having the same training equipment. Some guys will be hesitant just due to the virus still being a real threat. Both are totally fair and understandable.
Given that those are real possibilities though means the Clippers will have to try even harder to gel quickly. Marcus Morris has only played 12 games with the team. Reggie Jackson has played just nine. Joakim Noah was signed to a ten-day contract, only to never even suit up for the team. All three could have big playoff roles.
Doc Rivers is likely going to have to somewhat show his hand and use some playoff rotations to make sure the team gels in time for the postseason.
It’s not ideal and Rivers should by no means reveal all his rotations but getting more minutes for guys in specific scenarios is a necessity. What does that mean? Maybe shorten up the rotations for a game or two. Maybe run a little bit more of the small ball package that features Marcus Morris as the center.
Whatever the case may be, we have to get some of the rotation just so the team feels confident when they are out there during the playoffs. The first round can also be used to test some lineups as the matchup should favor the Clippers (especially if it’s Dallas) but the eight games are probably a better time to test things out.
The Clippers will have a little practice time to implement new things if Doc feels it necessary but getting onto the court against a real opponent is the only way to guarantee the ideas work. Let’s hope eight games is enough.