Blake Griffin, Mo Williams lead bonding effort
Blake Griffin and Mo Williams made the calls to their Clippers teammates, inviting them to work out during the NBA lockout.
They gathered at Loyola Marymount at times, or at a local high school. It was just the Clippers bonding.
The idea, Griffin said after a workout Monday at the team’s practice facility in Playa Vista, was to build a winning atmosphere.
Griffin said it was easy to get DeAndre Jordon (a restricted free agent looking for a contract), Eric Gordon (looking for a contract extension), Ryan Gomes, Randy Foye and all of the rest of the Clippers to show up.
“[It was] setting the tone for our year and making sure everybody kind of knows that we’re not going to be a team that’s OK with losing,” Griffin said. “The thing I think for me in talking to them is that it’s OK to care and it’s OK to want to win and be that team, to be upset when we lose. We just can’t have the mind-set of becoming complacent with losing.”
Griffin said all the losing for the Clippers last season didn’t “happen on purpose.”
The Clippers started last season 1-13, before rallying to finish with a 32-50 record.
The Clippers believe they can be a playoff team this season, and with only 66 games on the lockout-shortened schedule, Griffin said it’s important for them to come “out of the gates strong.”
“I want to put expectations on our team that are high,” Griffin said. “That’s kind of the way I’ve always been and I think some of our guys as well. I think it’s OK to set goals extremely high. Yeah, our goal is the playoffs and that’s very attainable and we have to keep it that way.”
Gomes seeks small-forward spot
Gomes started 62 games at small forward for the Clippers last season. He’s aware that the team is looking for an upgrade at the position.
He knew that free agent Caron Butler visited the Clippers on Monday night.
But Gomes said that if given the opportunity, he can “do better than I did last year,” when he averaged 7.2 points and 3.3 rebounds and shot 41% from the field.
Gomes said the Clippers’ desire for outside help was “understandable due to what our record was last year, due to expectations that they had.
“But I’m confident in myself that I can provide more than I did last year, and hopefully that’ll be the case,” he said.
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