We’ve got another 5 questions coming your way today & we were fortunate to get the assistance of Sports Illustrated's Clippers network, one Garrett Chorpenning as well as Brian Cullen from The Clipset Podcast. We got both gentlemen to answer 5 questions regarding both clubs. The Grizzlies take on the L.A. Clippers Monday, & this will happen without Jaren Jackson Jr, who is out at least the next couple of weeks with a knee injury. The Grizzlies are now forced to get creative but thankfully this front office stacked the cupboard with talent across all positions.
With all of that said, here we will focus on moreso on the teams in general. Everything is on the table & these two teams will look to improve their playpff positioning as the Clippers also look to pay the Grizzlies back for handing them defeat in their last matchup. Hopefully their struggles versus teams lower than themselves in the win column continues monday evening.
EdMemphis: First question. JaMychal Green is one of the longest tenured members of the "Grit N Grind" Grizzlies & thus, a beloved figure in Grind City. However I've noticed that he isn't starting this season. Although he hasn't been very efficient, he still has been pretty productive in the minutes he has received. How does JaM fit into the Clippers' plans the rest of the way? Could we see more of him as the season progresses? If so in what type of role if you will?
Garrett Chorpenning: I like JaMychal Green a lot, he played a big role for the Clippers last season following his trade from Memphis. His role has decreased this season, & I think it will continue to do so now that Marcus Morris is on the team. I like Green as a small ball 5 in some lineups, especially since he stretches the floor, but there just aren't enough minutes available right now.
Brian Cullen: JaMychal is great, & honestly probably a super sneaky favorite for a lot of Clippers fans too. I haven't dug deep into his numbers in a little while, but last time I did I was surprised that the statistics actually say he's been pretty good. The eye test is difficult. It feels like he has a game where he's hitting everything, followed up with a dud. But he's a true professional- if the shot isn't falling, he makes his impact in other areas on the floor.
Green not starting thus season makes sense. Ivica Zubac is an elite big man in the making. But his (Green) true value as a small ball 5 is always there as well, someone that can stretch the floor- something that Montrezl Harrell needs in order to be affective. Come playoff time I think JaMyke & Marcus Morris can be interchangeable. If the Clippers face Houston I can see either one of those guys starting at the five to match their five-out system."
EdMemphis: The Clippers seem to lack a true floor general that can get guys more efficient shots & in a more balanced fashion. What must Clippers head coach Doc Rivers do to compensate for such a particular skill missing from the roster or what have you seen work best at times already?
Garrett Chorpenning: I think Reggie Jackson will help remedy that issue, & I'm interested to see how he plays with the second unit once Patrick Beverly returns. But Kawhi Leonard has really worked on his playmaking this season & he's arguably been the team's best passer. He's surpassed his career-high in assists twice already this year & recorded his first triple-double last month.
Brian Cullen: I think the lack of a true point guard has been a little overstated. Kawhi has become a really good passer, which I don't think any of us saw that coming. Patrick Beverly is an underrated playmaker. Doc said earlier this season he gives Pat the playbook before every game; not something he does with any of the other players. He also stated that he's only ever done that with two other players- Rajon Rondo & Chris Paul.
Doc has stated that the team consciously doesn't want a traditional point guard because they have so many guys that can pass & play make that he wants everyone to share that role. However it seems that has just forced some more iso action, & the signing of Reggie Jackson maybe suggests they're going back on that a little."
EdMemphis: Has anyone mentioned a LA/Staples Center retirement of #24 &/or #8? Essentially being the Clippers & Lakers both retiring both of Kobe Bryant numbers?
Garrett Chorpenning: Not that I've heard. I don't think the Clippers will do it formally, but those numbers could be ones they avoid giving out for a while. Moe Harkless changed his number from 8 to 11 before he was traded by LA.
Brian Cullen: There has been no discussion, as far as I know, of all the Clippers retiring those numbers. The team does cover all the Lakers banners that are retired numbers for their home games, but since the tragedy, Kobe's jerseys are the only Lakers items in the rafters that the Clippers don't cover anymore. Not sure what Staples Center's plans are since it's technically the Kings’ home & the Clippers are leaving in a few years.
EdMemphis: In a matchup where both teams have rosters built best to run & play small ball lineups, how does LA view this Young "Drip N Slime" Grizzlies squad & what will be the key to the Clippers winning Monday's game?"
Garrett Chorpenning: I think the Clippers have a lot of respect for the Grizzlies, like so many others do in the league. Memphis has been a surprising team to watch this season, & it's always exciting to see young guys putting it together so early in their careers. The Clippers have really played down to their opponents this season, & they've lost a lot of games to sub-.500 teams because of it. LA needs to treat this game like it matters & play with some urgency, or else Memphis will run them off the floor again.
Brian Cullen: I would say the Clippers & the rest of the league to be honest, Their fast, competitive & hard nosed. No one expected this team to be in the playoff race, but here we are. Memphis has already handed the Clippers an embarrassing loss this season.
The key to win for the Clippers Monday is difficult. The team is at a rough impasse right now. Pat Bev & Paul George are both dealing with return issues. Aside from their talents, both guys are probably the two biggest vocal leaders on the team. They are also trying to integrate two new pieces in Reggie Jackson & Marcus Morris. The key is likely to play at their own pace, & find some trust in each other. The entire team was ice cold from the floor on Saturday against the Kings, so getting guys like Shamet some good looks earlier in the game will pay dividends down the stretch.
But honestly, this Clippers team is hard to predict. They've dealt with so many injuries to key guys that they're still figuring out how to play with each other.
EdMemphis: 5th & final question - What's the perfect song that describes this particular Clippers Group?
Garrett Chorpenning: I think 'Hustlin' by Rick Ross would make a great intro song for the Clippers.
Brian Cullen: I'm terrible with these questions. I have an insane music collection, I play in a band that tours, & I always blank on stuff like this. My best attempt- & it's such a bad one- is 'Some where Over The Rainbow'. These guys know how good their team is but keep getting held back by injuries & inconsistencies. They have their eyes on a title run, but have to do some real work begore it happens. They have to be itching to just get healthy & get to the playoffs.
I'll just throw this in here to end. If I never see a Clippers/Grizzlies playoff matchup again I'll be happy. Those series between Grit N Grind & Lob City toom years off all of us. Which is why it's almost weird how much Clippers fans have enjoyed watching the Grizzlies this year. Ja is great & I hope they keep building a good team around him.
In response to Brian's last sentence, I hope Memphis continues to build a championship team around Ja & Jaren, as Memphis looks to buck the trend of smaller markets losing stars to the bright lights of LA & other major markets. I wanna thank @BrianSCullen of @ClipsetPod & @GaChorpenning of @ClippersSI for collaborating with us to bring you this experience & ask that you be sure to check them out on their platforms as well.