Michael Johnson 

New Basketball Trend


March 21, 2019

The Los Angeles Clippers are 8-2 in their last 10 games and they are in eighth place in the Western conference playoff race. Eight teams from the west and eight teams from the east make the NBA playoffs. Their record is 42-30 with 10 games remaining in the regular season.

The Clippers recent success has been a compilation of many things. The number one reason maybe the maturation of their two rookie starting guards, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Landry Shamet.

Gilgeous-Alexander has become more aggressive on both ends of the court and he has discovered the value of his mid-range jumper and he is able to get to the rim. He is also playing like a big guard. At 6'6 he is contesting, altering and even blocking shots of the smaller opposing guards and using his length to his advantage.

His confidence as a point guard and floor director is becoming more evident each game as the regular season comes to an end. It will be interesting to watch him in the playoffs.

Landry has also shown a lot of confidence, scoring 21 points in recent game and he is showing his prowess as a very capable 3-point shooter. That's good news for the Clippers because that helps them space the floor on offense, leaving more room for their big men, Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zuba to operate around the basket.

Other factors in their success is the play of their bench. Their reserves are ranked at the top in scoring and rebounding. Lou Williams is the All-Time leading reserve scorer and Harrell is one of the top rebounding players coming off the bench. They are the best scoring duo coming off the bench in the NBA.

The addition of Zubac has paid strong dividends for the Clippers. He protects the rim, scores, runs the floor, sets effective slip screens, has good hands and takes up space in the middle. "He is much better than I thought," said teammate Patrick Beverly. "Thank you Lakers for sending him to the Clippers."

Finally, the Clippers are successful because of the insertion of Beverly in the starting lineup. The Clippers now run a three guard, one forward and one center starting lineup and at 6'1, 180 pounds Beverly is one of the guards.

What a difference Beverly has made defending the oppositions best player at the guard or small forward position. Arguably, Beverly is the best defender pound for pound in the NBA. He is tenacious, relentless and a very high energy player. He is also very irritating to opposing players and he is very intelligent according to Clipper coach Doc Rivers.

Maybe the new trend in the NBA will be a Patrick Beverly prototype. A player with a high basketball I.Q., fearless, an agitator and a consummate team player.


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