The Los Angeles Clippers still don’t have a permanent solution at the starting small forward position. And reports suggest that coach Doc Rivers is leaving the spot open for competition.
According to The Orange County Register, Rivers wants the wings on his roster to fit for the starting spot during the ongoing training camp and preseason which starts next week.
“It’s the first day (of training camp). I think that job is wide open. I’d say Luc, Alan (Anderson), Wes (Johnson) would be the three, but we may go small. Like I said last year, and didn’t follow through on it, that position will change a lot.
“Last year, we ran a lot with the small lineup, three guards, and we may do that to start games,” the team’s president-cum-coach said after Day 1 of training camp.
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Over the last few seasons, they have tried out the likes of Paul Pierce, Wesley Johnson, Matt Barnes and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute at the 3 spot but without prolonged success.
After letting go off Barnes, Pierce became a temporary option as a starter. But the Clippers struggled to match-up against LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard with players past their prime.
Last season, Mbah a Moute started 61 games while Johnson was featured in the first team on nine occasions.
In fact, Mbah a Moute played a lot of power forward when Blake Griffin was healing from injuries and serving time for suspension.
Rivers revealed that when the Clippers decide to play small-ball, they could move starting shooting guard J.J. Redick to the 3 spot with either Austin Rivers or Raymond Felton on the court.
“When you play Austin with that group, he can guard a better offensive player and CP can do what the rest of the league does – their point guards never guard the other point guard.
“We want to do that a lot this year. We want to put a lineup where CP doesn’t have to guard the best guy. Raymond can do that, and Austin can do that,” added Rivers.
After the fist day of training camp, it seems like Mbah a Moute could get first dibs as the starting small forward. The veteran spent most time with the starters during a team scrimmage.
Alan Anderson, who was acquired via free agency, also worked with the starters.
The Clippers begin their preseason against archrivals Golden State Warriors in an away game on Oct. 4.