After the disappointing end that was the 2019-20 season, the Clippers parted ways with longtime head coach Doc Rivers and are expected to revamp, at least, the surrounding pieces that complement what is still a promising championship-caliber core. Led by superstar, former league MVP Kawhi Leonard and perennial All-Star Paul George, L.A. could be just one tweak away from reaching a title in 2021.
Stephen A. Smith: Clippers Need A Point Guard, ‘Kawhi Leonard Privately Clamored For One’
ESPN host Stephen A. Smith of “First Take“ revealed Leonard, who led the Clippers to a 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals, has asked the front office for an upgrade at the point guard position.
“They clearly need a point guard,” Smith said. “Everybody knows it and Kawhi Leonard privately has clamored for one. It’s not that he wants them to get rid of Patrick Beverley, but Patrick Beverley is basically a defensive ace who’s small and has to play opposing guards. So, they need a point guard that can run a team and can shoot.”
Nuggets All-Star Jamal Murray torched the Clippers throughout Denver’s emphatic comeback in its best-of-7 series. He averaged 29 points, 5.6 assists while shooting at a 54.3% clip in the final three games, including a 40-point series-clinching performance in Game 7.
Beverley, the Clippers’ defensive backcourt juggernaut, struggled with containing Murray and left much to be desired on the opposite end, where Los Angeles needed scoring. To Smith’s point, maybe a score-first point guard is the kind of upgrade the Clips desperately need.
The threat of a perimeter shooter, for example, would certainly spell opposing defensive coverages from Leonard and George, while, also, of course, lighten the All-Star duo’s scoring load, or, as another ESPN analyst suggested, maybe the Clippers just need a new voice calling the shots.
Kendrick Perkins Tells Los Angeles Clippers: ‘Consider Trying To Get Rajon Rondo’
Los Angeles Lakers veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, who will reportedly test free agency this upcoming winter, could mesh nicely across town with the Clippers.
His undeniable championship pedigree, along with his vast experience in complementing superstar talent, certainly fits the bill. ESPN analyst, former Celtics champion Kendrick Perkins, who recently criticized Leonard on “The Jump” for not being a vocal leader for his team, says the Clippers need to give Rondo some serious consideration.
“The Clippers do not have a leader,” Perkins said. “Kawhi Leonard is not the guy that speaks out vocally and talks about (things). He just goes out there and performs and does his job. And if I’m the Clippers, I would really, really consider trying to get at Rajon Rondo. They do need a leader; they need a voice in the locker room that’s going to hold guys accountable.
“It’s only so much you could do as a coaching staff and as a head coach. You need a guy that’s gonna say the right things in the locker room and that’s gonna lose themselves in the team, and lead by example and preach the gospel in and out, and make sure guys don’t have a hidden agenda. Right now, the (the) Clippers do not have a leader and that is part of their problem.”