Why the System, and Not Its Pieces, Will Determine Success

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pageC4
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I'm not sure if this has been posted yet, but I found the read interesting. Monday, July 15, 2013 Why the System, and Not Its Pieces, Will Determine the Clippers' Defensive Success By Jared Dubin It's been quite the offseason for the Los Angeles Clippers. By re-signing Chris Paul, snatching Doc Rivers away from the Celtics, turning Eric Bledsoe's potential and Caron Butler's contract into J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, and retaining Matt Barnes, the Clips have been remolded as a true Western Conference power. Paul's presence on the roster essentially guarantees Los Angeles a top-flight offense and should alleviate any cause for concern related....

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pageC4
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This quote was the one that stood out to me. I think we can all safetly say that this team is lacking a lock down defender. So Doc's defensive system will determine a lot here. While I don't expect Doc and his system to make miracles I do expect it to at least make some of these players decent.

Agent0
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Writer forgot about Mullens and Jamison, but then I saw that this was written July 15th

In regards to the article, the writer is correct that you can't manufacture an elite defense without at least one or two elite defensive players, or an elite one and a/some really good one(s).

Indiana: Hibbert / George

Memphis: Gasol / Allen

Chicago: Noah / Deng / Gibson / Butler

SA: Duncan / Leonard / Green

OKC: Ibaka / Sefolosha / Collison and even Perkins despite his flaws

So of course just based on history, we aren't expecting this team to be elite on defense. For this season, I think an elite offense, overachieving on defense to be solid, not just for part of the season, or as a whole in the regular season, but in the playoffs is what we expect.

It will take a bit more tweaking or a huge jump from DJ and even Blake defensively, as well as maybe Bullock adjusting to NBA defense really quickly and getting minutes somehow to make an elite defense out of this team. So I think it's okay to not expect that in year one, but I think we should see a developing very good defense as players improve and tweaks are made to personnel in the future.

A solid above average defense this season is good, just nothing that gets demolished in the playoffs again because that is getting old.

...and if we do see an elite defense and those guys make big jumps, who's complaining? (well, except for other teams)

pageC4
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agreed. I doubt we will be a top defense, just as long as they play solid it will be enough

Clipswhit
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It's possible for DJ to look like an elite defender in the right system. I think he'll surprise us this season. Between DJ's emergence and 4 solid team defenders, I think we'll easily have a top 10, maybe a top 5 defense this season.

pageC4
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I hope so. I think a top 10 defense would be awesome

Agent0
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Top 10 is reasonable, team was top 10 last season. Top 10 isn't elite, it's the upper third of the league, but elite is closer to 3-5 range. The middle third 11-20 is all the average levels (below, average, above), and 21-30 below average to bad. The lower numbers in 11-20 (11-13) we could probably call about above average, so about 8-10 is above average - good.

We could say ~5-7 is very good, and 1-4 is elite. It isn't static, depends on the year, sometimes the difference between one team and the other is negligible, so we could have more elite defenses one year, more good, etc.

I think top 10 should happen, I think this core is an above average - good defensive team.

A7XDreamTheaterClipps
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I hate to say it but the Clippers are starting to look like the Steve Nash era Mavs. High power offense, mirage of outside shooting but no defense. The development of Blake and DJ's crucial.

Agent0
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I'd say more like the Steve Nash era Suns actually, a lot more comparisons that way than the Mavs. Mavs did a lot of small ball gimmicky stuff with Don Nelson as the coach.

pageC4
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Kind of. However, one key difference is that we have a coach that does preach defense, so its not like he's Don Nelson, Mike Dantoni, or any of these other offensive guys that doesn't believe in defense.

toohipcliptoslip
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While physical skills are important, a huge part of team defense is desire. The team has to be proud of its defense and willing to get in yo' face. Zbo punking BG or DJ's sieve like stopping can't happen. They have to get tough. Everybody wears #22 during practice. If those two don't set the tune we got problems.

As far as CP's great defense, he gets torched by fast guards. Parker ate him like a baguette

botev1921
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Apart from a trade, we can't get any game-changing defensive player as there aren't any left (don't quote me Ivan Johnson again). I think they will give it a try early on and might trade for a defense-only player similar to Safolosha.

namzug
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This is really depending on DJ and Blake's improvement on the defensive end. I think DJ will make a leap forward as a player, specifically on the defensive side. Blake will also improve, but his benefit will be wearing down players on the offensive side more than being a defensive anchor in my opinion.

As far as Ivan Johnson goes, I never said he was a lockdown defender or anything similar to that. He's a physical player that can wear on players since you have to work for your points. He's good on defense, he averages 1.7 DWS in his two seasons and averages a 100 DRTG. He's not a lockdown defender, but a good one. It's his physicality and energy that I like as a player and the thing I think our team is missing. A player like this is not a necessity, but definitely something you see on most contenders.

I don't think we need an existing elite defender, because there aren't really that many out there to be had. We are really depending on our two frontcourt players to improve individually as well as within a system that will have set rotations and have a similar plan across the board. I believe that our two starting frontcourt players will make the necessary improvements, and DJ will surprise those who doubt he is worth it. Hopefully DJ becomes that elite defender, and earn his paycheck.

Agent0
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For some people who are still wondering why some of us are so worried about defense: In 821 minutes with Odom on the floor with either Turiaf or Ryan Hollins, the Clips allowed less than 91 points per 100 possessions. That's elite defense no matter who the opponent is. No two-man combination in the league that played at least 450 minutes together had a lower on-court DefRtg than Odom and Turiaf. 1. In the postseason, it's better to be a great defensive team than a great offensive team. Over the last 12 seasons, 23 of the 24 teams that have reached The....

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pageC4
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Namzug, this is exactly the kind of perspective I like. I think it's well known that your front court should be the anchor of your defense. Ideally you would like to have a guy like Marc Gasol as your center, but if they were so easily acquired we would have one. Even some of these guys that were available early on in the offseason were kind of asking for a price that we simply could not match (without abandoning the pursuit of Matt Barnes and Collison). I would have loved Elton Brnad as our backup, but at $4 mill per year that meant we would have to let go of acquiring certain ancilary players.

That being said I feel that we have yet to see DJ and Blake play under a better system and a better coach that can teach them to be better defensive players. I think this will be the bigger issue here, our starting big men. People just have to understand that the free agent market is not without competition, and its not as if we had the market completely open. While these better defensive big men were available (like Brand, O'Neal...etc) GSW, and Atlanta were actively pursuing them as well. Sure we could have gambled on focusing our attention on them, but then things turn out differently: possibly no Barnes, Collison, Redick, Dudley.

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