Versatility, youth has Clips poised for more success
Posted: Friday August 18, 2006 8:58AM; Updated: Friday August 18, 2006 11:38AM
It may have cost the Clippers a bundle, but luring Cuttino Mobley as a free agent helped gain some much-needed credibility.
John W. McDonough/SI
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There probably isn't a more versatile NBA blog out there than Clipperblog, a recent addition to the online scene that offers a tremendous read in a number of ways.
During Los Angeles' 12-game playoff run, the site wowed with its enthused and incisive Xs and Os breakdowns, using advanced statistics and an insightful tone that blew away most mainstream coverage of Los Angeles' best basketball team.
This summer, it has offered rock-solid draft coverage and measured takes on the potentially-incendiary Clippers free agent situation. The most recent post (entitled "Sublimation and the Sports Fan") is the sort of open-ended musing that really typifies the blogosphere at its best.
We talked a bit with Clipperblog's Kevin Arnovitz about his Clippers, and what we can expect from them in the coming year.
SI.com: There's little question Shaun Livingston is easily one of this game's most exciting young players, and that Sam Cassell's hard-to-counter in-between game put the Clippers over the top last year, but what does that do for the Clippers in 2006-07? If Cassell falters a bit at age 37, will the 21-year old Livingston be ready to run the show?
Kevin Arnovitz: Livingston has some work to do on his jump shot and there's been a persistent concern about how his lanky frame will hold up if he's asked to play over 2,500 minutes during a season. His performance in April and into the playoffs, though, suggest that he's ready to step in and start.
The Clippers, first and foremost, are an interior team, and Livingston has shown an uncanny ability to get Elton Brandand Chris Kaman the ball -- not only in the post, but precisely where they want it. And when the team is in a controlled transition, Livingston is downright lethal. He's gotten better at using his size to his advantage by posting up smaller PGs and, at 6-7, he's become a proficient defender on the rotation, capable of guarding ones, twos and even some small forwards.
SI.com: The recent Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley signings ... workable? Passable? Regrettable?
K.A.: Mobley has elicited some moans from Clippers fans and, on balance, it's hard to look at his contract (5 years, $42 million) and not reason that he's overpaid. But you have to consider context. At the time of the signing the Clippers had never attracted a notable free agent from outside the organization. While Cat isn't a premium shooting guard, he's a durable player who understands offenses and defenses, can recognize a double team and can feed his big men on the block. Once a week, he'll fill it up from outside. Last season, during the grind of the winter months and while Corey Maggette was out, before the Vladimir Radmanovic acquisition, Mobley would play 40-plus minutes and offer 15-to-20 points per game -- something that often went unnoticed.