The Los Angeles Clippers are looking to enter the playoffs strong. With Blake Griffin playing at an MVP level and with Chris Paul at his best, the entire Clipper Nation is optimistic that this will be year the Clips will make it to the top. But who will be the most significant role player for Doc Rivers’s group during the playoffs? Who will be the sixth man?
One names comes in my mind when I hear the phrase “sixth man” and that’s no other than Jamal Crawford.
The 34-year old veteran guard won the Sixth Man of the Year award back in 2010 and he is set to win it again this year. He has been exception all season long and especially during the time Chris Paul was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Crawford is putting up 18.4 points per contest this season and I expect him to continue putting up points in bunches during the postseason.
Of course, Doc Rivers has more than one weapons to line up against any potential opponent. The Clips hope to have their entire roster available during the postseason, right from Game 1. Danny Granger, who is currently out with a hamstring injury is set to return to action. The 30-year old forward hasn’t been a big factor in the 12 games he appeared with the Clippers uniform, after he was brought in LA. Nonetheless, thanks to his veteran experience he could be a key for the Clips in the postseason. Granger can space the floor thus opening the lanes to Chris Paul, Crawford and also give more space to Griffin to work close to the basket. The playoffs are the reason why Lob City decided to acquire Granger in the first place.
Another role player who could prove out to be a big factor in the Clippers’ championship course is J.J. Redick. The 29-year old guard played in just 35 games up to now in the season due to back injury and he instantly made his presence felt. If there was one thing the Clips tried to improve this offseason that’s team three-point shooting. J.J. Redick adds up to the team’s firepower from beyond the arc. Thankfully, Redick now seems to be ok and his 12.4 points per game average over the last five games show exactly that. The sharpshooting guard has to play big for the Clips during the postseason.
Finally, Darren Collison and Matt Barnes will have to contribute, too, during the playoffs. However, none of them has shown up to now in the season that he can be the true sixth man for the Clips. Certainly, Collison was reliable when CP3 was out. Nevertheless, unless Paul suffers an injury once again during the playoffs, Collison’s role will be limited to the backup point guard. Barnes, on the other hand earned the starting job midway through the season with Jared Dudley sliding to the bench. However, his role can be characterized as supportive rather than a sixth-man-type one.
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BY: Chris M.