On the mothership, Kevin Arnovitz is joined by ESPN Insider Amin Elhassan to chat Clippers defense. There’s the caveat that it’s still early in the season, KA makes note of “small sample size theater,” but the discussion of the defensive quirks going on in Los Angeles is interesting nonetheless.
The broad strokes:
On DeAndre Jordan: “DeAndre Jordan, I thought, was incredibly active in the preseason… And then watching him again, particularly [against Houston], it’s not always there. That energy level, that attentiveness. It’s not always engaged. He’s better than where he was last season, but he’s already taken a step back from where he was in the preseason.”
On big-to-big rotation: “So far, not so good… Sometimes the rotation doesn’t happen, sometimes it just happens too slow or not efficiently enough.”
On needing a shutdown wing: “‘They don’t have an elite shutdown perimeter defender?’ Oh, okay. I think the guys they have are good enough.”
On using games as teaching opportunities for principles come springtime: “I think tinkering is a good thing and finding your way is a good thing. The part that discourages me is when you look at the effort not being there… When it’s schematic things that don’t work, you can so ‘Okay, it’s tinkering.’ When it’s guys breaking down on the fundamentals, that’s a little more troubling.”
On how good the Clippers can realistically get this season: “Top half. I would say 13, 12. Somewhere in that region… They don’t have to be the Bad Boys Pistons defensively. They just got to be good enough… Their offense is incredible and so versatile and so unstoppable.. Their offense is so good, the defense doesn’t have to be elite. It just to not be terrible, which it’s been so far.”