The LA Clippers concluded their first two dress rehearsals with three key takeaways for the upcoming NBA season.
The Clippers registered two losses to the crosstown rival Lakers in their first glimpse of life under Tyronn Lue.
While the result bears no consequence in the preseason, the outings did uncover three main conclusions that will be critical to any success that the Clippers may taste come July.
Serge Ibaka will be essential to a potential LA Clippers’ championship this season
Serge Ibaka’s inclusion in the starting unit signals a stylistic change as part of the Lue reign in Southern California.
The Clippers’ new starting center will space the floor for teammates to attack an unoccupied painted area, while can also operate as a strong pick and roll partner who can capitalize on mismatches created against switching defenses.
An Ibaka-anchored defense will maintain a robust interior presence that will enable flexibility for a unit that can guard multiple positions.
The Congolese center’s new role will be attached with an expectation to become a strong vocal leader in a Clippers locker room yearning for a veteran presence after the turbulence of the 2019/20 season.
What perhaps may be Ibaka’s biggest strength in Los Angeles is his ability to galvanize this squad after the internal rumblings of last term. Reports of a philosophical conflict between members of the Clippers generated tangible friction in the side and more than likely were contributing factors in Doc Rivers and Montrezl Harrell’s exodus at the conclusion of the season.
Clippers brass will be hoping Ibaka can fill the leadership void that has been lacking in this locker room, as the pedigree and respect that the one-time NBA champion commands throughout the league will undoubtedly be shared by his new teammates.