Sports Out West

Los Angeles Clippers offseason 2013: 3 players who need to step up

Photo Credit: Howard Smith/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers are facing some heavy expectations, starting with their leader and newly-elected NBAPA President Chris Paul. With the hiring of a new coach and additional firepower to an already loaded team, the franchise needs to win. A refreshing and daunting feeling for an organization so used to losing. 

While most of the success will factor to the schemes and play calling of both head coach Doc Rivers and Paul, these Clippers will need three players to step up.

Blake Griffin

He’s just 24 years old and, with all the potential in the world, needs to evolve his game again. Last season saw Griffin average a career-low 32:30 minutes a game, but an increase in efficiency. While the turnovers remained consistent to his career average (career average 2.4 turnovers per game), he had a career year in free-throw percentage and steals.

Griffin, if given the playing time, needs to show improvement to his defensive game. His stats look great (20.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists per game, career averages), but his linear offensive game and nonexistent post-defense are his detriment. Youtube and Griffin fans are well aware of the monster dunks, but the power forward needs to develop a better mid-range game, post moves, and better decision-making. On the defensive side, man-to-man remains an issue as well as the lack of blocks (career average 0.6 blocks per game).

Another step forward may propel Griffin, and the Clippers, to the best tier of teams.

 

DeAndre Jordan

A dunk of the year candidate, a big man with athleticism to spare, and a big-time project. Jordan’s still 25, but the team may need his glaring offensive holes to patch up before another step.

The defensive effort is there. Jordan’s a strong weak-side defender (1.4 blocks per game last season) and good offensive rebounder (2.6 offensive rebounds per game) for the minutes per game (24.30 minutes per game). Jordan needs to work on his free-throws and offensive (or lack of) game in the post. If he develops into more than a liability on the other side of the court, the Clippers will utilize the talented big man more.

 J.J. Redick

The biggest acquisition for the Clippers’ lineup needs to prove his worth. Redick will finally have a job that should play him for 30+ minutes per game. With consistent minutes and a role, Redick will have no excuses for his production.

If the Clippers get the 2012-13 Orlando Magic Redick that averaged 45 percent, 15.1 points, and 2.3 three-pointers per game, it will be a coup of a trade. The shooting is real, the scoring is as well, but the Clippers will need Redick to be that third or fourth option for the team if either Griffin or Paul is denied shots.

Photo Credit: Howard Smith/USA TODAY Sports

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Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a sports and video game journalist born and raised in Southern California. He is great at finding the important detail in the mundane and ordinary. He has published articles for Riot Games, IGN.com, 1UP.com, Rotowire.com, and SBNation.