The Los Angeles Clippers will enter the 2020-21 season with a bad taste in their collective mouths. The team did not ever really gel last year, with continued reports coming out of L.A. about discontent within the Clippers locker room, and as a result, they blew a shocking 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference Semifinals to the Denver Nuggets. They’re considered a title contender entering this campaign, but that reputation is going to follow them until they get over the hump.
As one of the team’s two All-Star selections, a lot of the onus to get over said hump is going to be on the shoulders of Paul George. Whether he’ll be able to answer that call remains to be seen, but as he explained during a cameo on the All the Smoke podcast, George does think he’ll be put in a better role this season. George believed that now-former Clippers coach Doc Rivers had an idea of how he wanted to use him, and while he believes he has that in his skill set, it wasn’t a perfect match.
Paul George on his struggles in Doc Rivers' system:
"Doc was trying to play me as a Ray Allen or a JJ Redick, all pin-downs. I can do it, but that ain't my game. I need some flow, I need some mixes of some pick-and-roll, and post ups…That last season was hard."@SHOsports pic.twitter.com/ECcN1NaEvd
— Farbod Esnaashari (@Farbod_E) December 2, 2020
Now, George did have the highest mark of his career in terms of the percentage of threes he took, but as Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer noted, comparisons to guys like Allen and Redick aren’t totally accurate.
Interesting comment. Paul George finished 33% of his total plays using the pick-and-roll, which was a career-high. The prior high was 25% in OKC, via @SynergySST stats. That’s very different from a Ray Allen or JJ Redick style role. https://t.co/w0n1UDrx1p
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) December 2, 2020
The good news for George is that the Clippers hired a pretty good offensive tactician in Ty Lue to replace Rivers as head coach, and he will probably figure out ways to get George in the offense that play to his strengths. At the very least, he almost certainly will not be used like Allen or Redick, which he’ll appreciate.