Clippers Coach Doc Rivers isn’t one to mince words. Throughout the preseason, he’s repeatedly said that the San Antonio Spurs, the reigning NBA champions, are the best team in the league.
So when the Spurs played their season opener Tuesday, DeAndre Jordan said he was studying them.
"It looked like they just had an All-Star break, and that’s it,” Jordan said of a team that hasn’t played a game that’s counted since mid-June.
“It looked like they were clicking, the ball was moving around, even being short-handed like they were” -- the Spurs were missing Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter -- “that doesn’t really matter with a team like that. They all know each other, which is what we’re trying to be.”
The Clippers returned their starting lineup from last season, and are about to begin their second season with Rivers at the helm.
They are considered one of the top teams in the West, but they have something sorely missing -- championship experience. Or even NBA Finals experience. Or even Western Conference finals experience. The Clippers have never made it past the second round of the playoffs.
Jordan said he looks at the Spurs as an example of what the Clippers could become.
“It’s encouraging seeing that team, that coach, and how everybody buys into that system,” Jordan said. “Things haven’t really changed for them. They do the same thing. It’s kind of like how Utah was -- you know what play they’re going to run, you just can’t stop them.”
Jordan said that when he watches games, he focuses specifically on the guards and the bigs, studying their tendencies and their plays.
"We’re trying to be a team like that,” Jordan said.