Los Angeles Clippers vs. Indiana Pacers
7:30 p.m. PST
December 17, 2014
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
Last year’s arguable dunk of the year came in a Pacers-Clippers game.
1. Does the Pacers’ Solomon Hill pick look better now than it did on draft night two years ago?
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): Clearly, because in June of 2013, it looked like the reach of the draft. Hill’s offensive game may be notably undeveloped, but he’s turned into one of Frank Vogel’s most trusted players and is already a well above-average defender on the perimeter. Selecting a contributing role player with a solidified role with pick 23 in a subpar draft is a win.
Andy Liu, (@AndyKHLiu): Out of necessity, perhaps. Solomon Hill probably ends up as a perfectly fine NBA player, and for these Indiana Pacers, that’s good enough. When you’re picking at the end of the first round, it’s all a crapshoot anyway. Rudy Gobert was available but still remains mostly a project. Other than that, the pickings were slimmer than whatever is the opposite of the Big Baby.
Seth Partnow, (@SethPartnow): Better? Certainly. I’m not sure we’re to “good” yet, but he looks like he has a chance of being a quality rotation player, which is a huge win for that spot in the draft.
2. Is Blake Griffin ever going to bring his rebounding numbers back to career norms?
Katz: I’ll pull a Clinton and answer this with, “It depends on what the definition of ‘ever’ is.” If Griffin wants to be averaging double-digit rebounds by the end of this season, he’d have to pull down about 12 boards a night the rest of the way, which isn’t going to happen. But that said, there’s no reason to think Griffin’s rebounding talents are lost forever.
Liu: Yes, because saying no would imply that there’s something sustainably wrong with Blake Griffin. He’s shooting more jumpers so that might take away from his time in the paint but as long it isn’t a long-term health issue, he should be fine.
Partnow: The offensive rebounding is what it is because of Doc’s preference for transition defense and Griffin being further from the basket than ever on offense. The defensive rebounding is a concern, as it’s already a problem area for the team, yet Blake is still putting up career lows there. Hopefully this is just an aberration, but if his athleticism is declining slightly he might need to improv his technique to offset.
3. Does Matt Barnes deserve more credit than he’s gotten so far this year?
Katz: Hell yes. He’s shooting a career-high 40 percent from three, and even if defenses still feel most comfortable helping off him, he’s at least sinking those open shots. Barnes has always been a streaky player. He’s hot now. He’s likely become cold later. Then hot again. And cold. Katy Perry would love it.
Liu: Matt Barnes is the perfect “love him when he’s on your team and hate him when he isn’t” type of player. He’s the only capable wing defender and is still very good on most nights. It’s less savory when everyone else operates as a sieve and he has to pick up their mistakes. So, yes, he deserves more credit simply because no one else deserves all that much.
Partnow: The criticism of Matt Barnes hasn’t really been about Matt Barnes anyway. He is what he is and the negativity is focused on what we all knew he wasn’t, which is a dynamic offensive threat and floor spacer. Does he deserve more credit for the things he does well? Possibly but he’s still somewhat the emblem of the notion that the depth of talent on the roster isn’t what it should be for a team with championship ambitions.