Clippers' Jordan Farmar is struggling this season

Doc Rivers says more effort is required from player and coach to get more production out of Jordan Farmar

Jordan Farmar is a two-time NBA champion and has been a starting point guard in the league.

Still, the question had to be asked: Would the Clippers be better served trying Jared Cunningham as the backup for Chris Paul?

Farmar is averaging career lows in points (4.2), field-goal percentage (.363) and minutes (14.4) while flirting with that distinction in assists (1.8). The eight-year veteran averaged a career-worst 1.5 assists during the 2009-10 season with the Lakers.

He apparently retains a believer in Clippers Coach and Director of Basketball Operations Doc Rivers, who last summer gave Farmar a two-year, $4.2-million contract that includes a player option for next season.

"I think about all 15 guys," Rivers said Saturday after Farmar went scoreless with one assist and two turnovers during the Clippers' 110-98 loss to the Toronto Raptors. "But I think Jordan is the right guy."

Farmar left before reporters entered the locker room.

Darren Collison also struggled early last season in limited minutes behind Paul before becoming an invaluable backup, but it can no longer be considered early 31 games into the Clippers' season.

Rivers said getting more production out of Farmar would require effort on the part of the coach as well as the player.

"It's always 50-50 on that," Rivers said. "If a guy's not playing great for you, there's always something a coach can do, and I'm still looking for those things. And Jordan has to do it himself too. When he comes in, the ball pressure has to pick up from him. His shot-making, he can do that."

Rivers said he also needed to simplify the offense for the second unit to help it become more effective under Farmar's direction.

"That's an area I didn't anticipate them struggling in," Rivers acknowledged. "Sometimes that's not on Jordan; it could be somebody else in the unit with him."

Farmar's difficulties could make the Clippers contemplate keeping Cunningham for the rest of the season. His league-minimum contract becomes fully guaranteed Jan. 10.

One idea to bolster Farmar's production would be to play him more alongside Paul.

"I'm sure Doc is going to exercise every option," Paul said. "We talked to Jordan. He's going to be fine. This league is all about confidence too. Jordan knows what he's capable of, but at the same time, you've got to be out there and you've got to have people encouraging you to give you that confidence, so we're right there behind him and he'll be fine."

It suited him

Spencer Hawes hasn't played since Dec. 12 because of a bone bruise in his left knee.

But his presence continued to be the talk of the team days after he wore a Christmas suit that would have upstaged even TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager, the king of outlandish outfits.

Rivers joked that Hawes' suit featuring trees in a garish red-and-green checked pattern was "what distracted [Stephen] Curry and [Klay] Thompson," the Golden State sharpshooters who both had off nights during the Clippers' victory on Christmas night.

Hawes said he ordered the suit online, but the pants couldn't be made to fit his 7-foot-1 frame, the hem falling a few inches short of his shoes. Rivers was asked if he thought Hawes wore the suit on a dare.

"I hope it was a dare," Rivers said. "If he just did that on his own, that's scary."

CLIPPERS VS. UTAH

When: 7:30 p.m. PST Monday.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 980.

Records: Clippers 20-11, Jazz 10-20.

Record vs. Jazz: 2-0.

Update: The Jazz has won four of its last five games, including an impressive 97-91 victory over Memphis on the road. Gordon Hayward is averaging a team-leading 18.9 points, and young guards Alec Burks (13.9 points per game) and Trey Burke (11.4) are rapidly improving.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

Twitter: @latbbolch

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