A few months removed from last season, the Los Angeles Clippers have added a few new faces with the hope that the team can finally get past the second round of the playoffs. Two faces they expect to make a huge splash are Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith.
Lance Stephenson was a marquee free agent just over a year ago, helping to lead the Indiana Pacers to the Western Conference Finals on good defense and flirting with a triple-double nearly every night. Last year he signed a big deal with the Charlotte Hornets, which many would say, he didn’t live up to. The Clippers acquired Stephenson just after the season ended for Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes. Doc Rivers spoke at a team practice regarding Stephenson and the reputation that came with him.
Lance Stephenson went from being an all-star with the Pacers, to not fitting in with any line-up for the Hornets. Coach Doc Rivers gives his thoughts on the reasoning for the sudden drop in Stephenson’s game.
Another huge addition to the Clippers came in the form of Josh Smith. Smith who started last season with the Detroit Pistons, was cut from the team and later picked up by the Houston Rockets.
A season that was shaping out to be a lack luster oneÂ for the former all-star forward, didn’t take shape until the playoffs where he helped drive the Houston Rockets to an upset victory over the Clippers.
Smith, who was offered more money by the Rockets to stay chose to move to the Clippers in free Agency. Doc Rivers mentioned that though the Rockets offered Smith more money, the Clippers front office was more aggressive in acquiring the forward.
Thus far, Doc Rivers says that the two have fit in nicely with the Clippers, adding the Josh Smith is playing a huge role in leading the team.
Josh Smith Mentioned why he came to the Los Angeles and touched on the mentality that he sees in this Clippers squad.
Smith also expressed his excitement to play with Stephenson and endorsed what he thought Lance brought to the team.
Both Lance and Josh will be playing unfamiliar roles with this rebooted Clipper squad, Lance is excited about the opportunity with the second unit and looks forward to playing with Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers.
According to Doc Rivers, Both Josh and Lance will be playing unfamiliar Role in an opportunity to match the small-ball style line up that the Warriors used to win the Championship.
Josh Smith is looking forward to the opportunity to play the five position and is looking to his new teammates to hold him accountable for that position.
One thing that both Smith and Stephenson have had in common, is a bad history with a previous team, Josh with Detroit and Lance with the Charlotte. Josh compared Lances situation to his own.
If both Josh Smith and Lance Stephenson can return to their all-star form, the Clippers will once again, be among the ranks of the best teams in the west. With the NBA regular season less than a month away, we will see how the Clippers new pieces settle-in in no time.
Clippers are set to play six pre-season games, three at home, three away, one of which is in China. The Clippers regular season will be under way on October 28 when they head to Sacramento to play the Kings.