Clippers’ backup small forward position up for grabs

Doc Rivers, Reggie Bullock
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers talks with forward Reggie Bullock during a game against the Chicago Bulls last November at Staples Center.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The big question concerning the Clippers lineup this season is at the backup small forward position.

Matt Barnes is expected start at small forward, and Reggie Bullock, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Joe Ingles are battling to be his backup.

Bullock, 23, was drafted by the Clippers with the 25th overall pick in 2013. Last season, he averaged 2.7 points and 1.3 rebounds in 9.2 minutes over 43 games. He was unable to play in the Summer League because of a right knee injury, but he participated in training camp in Las Vegas last week.

Chris Douglas-Roberts, 27, has bounced around different NBA teams in his six seasons in the league. Last season with the Bobcats, he averaged 6.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 20.7 minutes over 49 games.


Joe Ingles, a 26-year-old from Australia, spent last season playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel and had a strong showing at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. He was pursued by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2013, but he opted to spend another season abroad before joining the league.

During the team’s first exhibition of the season Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors, Douglas-Roberts by far got the most minutes at the backup small forward position. He played 17 minutes and 27 seconds, scoring two points and getting two assists, but also getting three personal fouls.

After the game, Rivers said of Douglas-Roberts: “He creates activity.”

Bullock played seven minutes and 20 seconds, going scoreless with one assist and two rebounds. And Ingles made a brief and uneventful appearance for two minutes and 39 seconds.


Rivers said he wants to continue to continue evaluating each of them, adding that filling that position is not his primary concern at the moment.

“I’m not that focused on it right now, if you want me to be honest,” Rivers said. “All of them will play and we’ll watch, but in our coaches meetings we’re not having a lot of small forward meetings right now. I think it will come down to later.”

Rivers said he intends to try a bunch of different combinations to see what works.

“I’ll probably play each of them with the starting lineup at least maybe to start a game or to start a second half because I want to see everything at that position,” Rivers said.

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