On the first day of practice Tuesday at the Bren Events Center at UC Irvine, Mbah a Moute and Anderson spent time working with starters Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Johnson did all of his work with the reserves.
But Coach Doc Rivers said after practice that not too much should be read into the first day.
“I think that job is wide open,” he said. “But I would say Luc, Alan, Wes would be the three [competing for the job].”
Rivers said that both Mbah a Moute and Anderson were good defenders and tough, but Anderson is a “better shooter” and Mbah a Moute a “better cutter” to the basket. Johnson is considered the most athletically gifted of the three.
Mbah a Moute, who during the summer re-signed with the Clippers for $4.5 million over two years, started 61 games last season.
But the veteran, who averaged 17 minutes a game, said his playing time was inconsistent, so it was his job to “stay ready.”
“It’s hard, because you never get into a rhythm when you don’t play a lot,” said Mbah a Moute, who averaged 3.1 points and 2.3 rebounds. “But it’s about sacrifices, right? So when you’re on a team like this, you want to sacrifice because you know you have a chance to do something special. If that’s what it takes for me to help the team to win, I’ll do it.”
Anderson signed with the Clippers as a free agent, hoping to rebound from a disappointing season with the Washington Wizards. He played in only 13 games, sitting out most of the season because of a left ankle injury that required surgery.
But over a seven-year NBA career, Anderson has averaged 7.8 points and made 34.5% of his three-point shots.
Johnson started only nine times for the Clippers last season but was utilized in 71 other games; the team re-signed him to a three-year, $18-million deal.
He averaged 6.9 points and made 33.3% of his three-point shots, playing about 21 minutes a game.
“Yeah, we’re competing for the job, but I don’t think anybody is really looking at it like that,” Johnson said. “Like last year we were rotating a lot of people at that position. So right now, we’re just pushing each other.”
Starts and stops
Griffin said that he’s in a good place, despite having to spend most of the summer rehabilitating from a partially torn left quadriceps tendon.
“I think the mental hurdle is past,” he said.
He said that new equipment that helps players track their movements was beneficial to his recovery.
“The amount of knowledge you can attain now [about exercise] is crazy,” Griffin said. “So it’s all useful.”
Rivers suggested that his players got a little frustrated during a three-hour practice session that included no scrimmaging.
“You’re going to have those practices during October,” Redick said. “I thought we handled it well. Obviously we want to play. It’s probably unrealistic to play for three straight hours. So we do have to get the teaching part of it, and we’re an older group.”
Rivers said “the whole team” watched the second half of the debate Monday night between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.