Before the season started, Ryan Gomes knew he wouldn’t be starting at small forward for the Clippers and that his playing time would decline when the team signed free-agent forward Caron Butler.
Gomes, who was playing only 16.5 minutes per game and averaging 3.2 points and 2.4 rebounds before Monday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, said he has to stay patient and be professional.
He started 62 games last season for the Clippers — he played in 72 games — and averaged 27.6 minutes, 7.2 points and 3.3 rebounds.
“It’s not going to always work out for any individual,” Gomes said. “You could be playing 40 minutes and say, ‘I could have gotten 10 more shots.’ It could be anything. As a player, you’re always looking for more. And right now am I looking for more? Yeah, but I’ve got to be patient and continue to work on my game and continue to be ready for when I do get 20, 30 minutes in the game.”
Not only is Gomes behind Butler, but the 6-foot-7 forward also has had his playing time suffer when Coach Vinny Del Negro plays a three-guard lineup.
So for Gomes, when he does get playing time, he said he has to be productive.
“Now does that mean scoring 20 points?” Gomes said. “No, but maybe it’s making the right basketball play. I’m just being patient right now and being a good teammate and working hard in practices. That’s all I can do as of right now. When I do get my opportunity to play those type of minutes and do things out there, I’ll take advantage of it.”
The most important thing to Gomes is that the Clippers are good and they are winning.
“I’ve never been on a winning team in my career,” Gomes said. “Now I’m on a winning team and my minutes are cut. But we’re winning and I’m happy with that.”
Clippers impress Kevin Durant
The Clippers have gotten themselves an admirer.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant is impressed by the talent the Clippers have.
“I’ve always been a big fan of DeAndre [Jordan] since he’s been in high school, Blake [Griffin] since he’s been in high school, CP [Chris Paul] since he’s been in high school,” Durant said. “I kind of know those guys over there. …
“CP is going to make those guys better, and Chauncey [Billups] and Caron bring in veteran leadership. They’re fun.”
The players weren’t the only ones Durant talked about.
He also had high praise for Neil Olshey, the Clippers’ vice president of basketball operations.
“He should be executive of the year for the moves he made,” Durant said.