The Los Angeles Clippers had a pretty good 2014-15 season, as they were one win away from reaching the West Finals. Doc Rivers and company had a 3-1 lead over the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals, but the squad from LA just couldn’t handle their opponents and lost the series. Those three consecutive losses showed one big problem in the Clippers team and they had no veteran leader to keep them consistent. However, next season things may be different as the franchise that is owned by Steve Balmer recently signed the ex-Celtics player, Paul Pierce.
Pierce is one of those old school players that is afraid of a challenge and is a true leader. He has shown numerous times that he can be a force in the locker room and be an example for his teammates. Furthermore, the Truth has once been coached by Doc Rivers, which is definitely a big plus for the entire team. It is also quite known that it was Rivers that played a big role for Pierce signing with the Clippers – “I played with Doc longer than any coach I ever played for in my career. Definitely comfortable being around him, being with him. So that really helps out, especially when you go into a new situation, being around things you’re comfortable with.”, Pierce said when being interviewed about his arrival in LA.
From a basketball standpoint, the Truth will definitely help the Clippers a lot, even though he is quite old. He brings toughness, some pretty decent three-point shooting and the ability to make clutch shots. Yes, he isn’t as fast and explosive as he used to be, but nevertheless, he has never relied heavily on his quickness or athleticism. Around the league Pierce is known for his old-school type of game, which includes a lot of footwork, fakes and tricks. Because of his particular skillset, the Truth is still playing in the NBA, despite being 37-years old.
The other big addition for the Clippers is Lance Stephenson. Stephenson had an awful season with the Bobcats, after leaving the Pacers, and he is definitely happy to change scenario in order to become the player he once was. I expect Lance to be what Pierce isn’t – an athletic, all-around player that can do almost anything on the court. If he starts doing what he did when he was part of the Pacers, the Clippers will be a force to be reckoned with. However, there is one problem with Stephenson, he is everything, but a mature player. That could be a problem, but I expect him to become a more serious player, as he will be surrounded by the likes of Pierce, Paul and Rivers, who are without a doubt, more than just professionals.
As a conclusion, it can be said that the Clippers have a lot of expectations on them, but it will be quite hard to live up to them. The Western Conference is stacked and in order to just reach the NBA Finals, they will have to get through the Spurs, the Warriors, the Rockets and the Grizzlies, which are all championship contenders.