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Powell seeks niche in familiar offense

Times Staff Writer

The Clippers will try to survive the onset of the season, says Coach Mike Dunleavy, on a mobility-based transition offense.

So Josh Powell should be a good fit after spending part of last season with the high-scoring Golden State Warriors.

Powell said he can see the Clippers sporting a similar offense.

“It starts on defense and getting stops,” he said. “Once it starts there, you are able to bust out and get on offense quickly.

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“We have the guys to do the same type things. Big guys who can shoot and handle the ball well. It all depends on the guards and getting the ball out fast.”

Powell, who at 6 feet 9 and 235 pounds can also play center in a small lineup, said teams that fail to communicate on defense are often susceptible to that type of offense.

“A lot of teams don’t talk or get back fast,” he said. “That’s what kills the teams, when they don’t know what’s coming or what the options will be.”

Dunleavy also elaborated on opening up the offense.

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“This wasn’t a planned thing for us,” he said. “We like to run and attack the floor, but we also like to work the ball inside out. But now we are missing the main guy in that [Elton Brand], so we have to look at different options.”

Meanwhile, Powell appears to be one of the new system’s beneficiaries.

He declared for the draft after his sophomore season at North Carolina State, but went undrafted and played overseas, eventually signing a free-agent contract with the Dallas Mavericks.

Dallas traded him to the Indiana Pacers, who in turn dealt him to Golden State last season.

In two NBA seasons, his career averages are 3.1 points and 2.3 rebounds.

One of Powell’s favorite sayings is to “let the lion out of the cage,” and it appears Dunleavy is prepared to do just that.

Dunleavy said he has followed Powell the last couple of years and told his advanced scouts to alert him if he became available.

Powell speaks softly, carefully considering each question posed to him.

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But beneath the surface, he exudes confidence.

“I just have to show what I can do, get out there and get the confidence going,” Powell said.

He, along with rookie Al Thornton, earned Dunleavy’s praise at training camp.

“I liked his mobility and how hard he plays and how he moves to the ball,” Dunleavy said. “He did all those things at camp for us.

“I think he’s got the tools to be able to contribute.”

The Clippers play at Golden State tonight at 6. . . Center Chris Kaman (tweaked lower back) is expected to make his exhibition debut. Corey Maggette (bruised left thigh) is questionable and Cuttino Mobley (strained left calf) is sidelined.

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jonathan.abrams@latimes.com

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