J.J. Redick doesn’t want to know any advanced statistics related to the Clippers. He’s pretty sure what they would say.
“We’re not very good on either side of the ball,” the shooting guard said Friday.
The numbers confirm his suspicions. The Clippers rank 12th in the NBA in offensive efficiency, a measure that incorporates a team’s pace to provide an account of its effectiveness that is truer than points scored. They are scoring 104.7 points per 100 possessions.
The Clippers rate far worse in defensive efficiency — 21st, giving up 104.7 points per 100 possessions.
Both rankings are down considerably from last season, when the Clippers led the league in offensive efficiency and were tied for seventh in defensive efficiency. Redick said players have lacked the trust they had on both sides of the ball the previous season, “but we can get back there.”
The discrepancy is a large reason the Clippers are off to a 4-3 start, though Coach Doc Rivers said he was “not that concerned” about the way his team is playing.
“I just think we haven’t gotten off the way we wanted to,” Rivers said, “and I think we will eventually and we’ll start playing well.”
Rivers said his primary worries were his team’s lagging pace, rebounding and defense. The Clippers have been outrebounded in six of seven games and have struggled with teams beating them off the dribble, wrecking their defensive rotations and leading to easy baskets.
Playing with more pace, Rivers said, would entail improvement in two areas.
“We have to stop teams from scoring and we have to stop fouling,” he said, “because it’s really hard to run when they’re shooting free throws every single time down the floor or getting second shots.”
Agony of the feet
The Clippers’ four-day break between games came at the perfect time for Spencer Hawes. It allowed the reserve forward-center to rest a strained left foot that has contributed to his underwhelming start with his new team.
Hawes dressed for practice Thursday but was held out in an attempt to accelerate the healing. He practiced Friday and is expected to play Saturday night at Staples Center when the Clippers face the Phoenix Suns.
“Your feet, that’s the kind of thing you worry about, getting it to where it feels better and then doing something that sets you back,” Hawes said.
Hawes said his foot bothered him when he pushed off his toes. He has been placed on a minutes restriction the last few games and was issued a walking boot he hopes to discard as soon as possible.
“Every day,” he said, “I kind of come in and see if I can throw my boot away and try and lobby for the time limit to be a thing of the past.”
No more World Peace?
Rivers has heard the rumor. A friend from New York was the first to pass it along.
The friend mentioned “MWP,” prompting a quizzical response from Rivers. Informed it was Metta World Peace, the former Laker who now plays for the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Assn., Rivers didn’t sound like he had considered pursuing the veteran small forward.
Rivers said the rumor was “as much as I know about it, let me put it that way.”