Found Objects – 9.27.2011
• In today’s installment of ESPN’s 5-on-5, the experts give various predicitions for the top-100 of #NBArank. Joe Gerrity of Hornets 24/7 believes that DeAndre Jordon is the one player outside of the top-100 that will rise the highes outside of the #1 pick of the 2011 Draft (hat tip to loyal ClipperBlog reader JaySee):
Kyrie Irving, but if we take the 2011 draft class out of the picture, then I’ll go with DeAndre Jordan (No. 114). He took some pretty meaningful strides last season, and has all the tools to emerge as one of the top centers in the league before too long.
• HOOPSWORLD’s Eric Pincus at the league’s top-5 dynamic duos, with Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon, naturally, placing right behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook:
Los Angeles forward Griffin was easily the unanimous Rookie of the Year. He was the breakout star in the NBA with his forceful array of in-game dunks.
Blake averaged 22.5 points a game on 50.6% shooting while pulling down 12.1 boards nightly. Although his contest-winning dunk over a Kia was impressive, it was his throw-down over then-New York Knick Timofey Mozgov that quickly ushered Griffin to the NBA forefront.
That was early in the season when the Clippers were searching wins, transitioning from the old guard to what would be the team’s future.
In addition to Griffin, who played all 82 games after missing what was supposed to be his rookie year with a knee injury, Gordon emerged as one of the top shooting guards in the league.
Eric averaged a career-high 22.3 points per game along with 4.4 assists. Beyond the stats, he began to develop into a true fourth-quarter closer.
Unfortunately injuries impeded his development (wrist, finger, shoulder, etc.) and he played in just 56 games.
Gordon still has to improve his ball-handling. More than once he’d lose the ball with a secondary defender swiping in on a drive.
What the Clippers need is health, stability and some additional outside shooting to provide both Eric and Blake with the proper space they need to dominate.
Picking up guard Mo Williams over Baron Davis made sense with Gordon taking over the duties as closer. Baron was best with the ball in his hands but had struggled to make the right decisions and/or shots on the floor with the Clippers (with the game on the line).
Williams is the better shooter and he’s much more comfortable playing off-guard when needed.
The goal is to build around the duo of Griffin and Gordon. The Clippers would like to add another piece, ideally a small forward to better balance their lineup.
Looking ahead, LA has cap space, the Minnesota Timberwolves 2012 pick (unprotected), Chris Kaman on an expiring contract and other assets that might be appealing around the league.
Gordon is going into the last year of his deal and Griffin has just two but the Clippers fully expect to extend both beyond their rookie deals.
With that in mind, the Clippers have some urgency to not only make the playoffs but to make an immediate impact.
While that may not be out of the question, the team may still be missing a piece or two to make that possible. Retaining restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan is a must.
• Do the Clippers need a (real) point guard? That’s a good question. Clips Nation’s John Raffo discusses the notion.