by Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello)
LOS ANGELES – While Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Patrick Beverley will be the unquestioned leaders of the L.A. Clippers’ defense, they’ll still need the help of the rest of their squad to lock it down on that end.
What makes this Clippers team unique is most of their roster is made up of quality individual defenders that are long, athletic, and versatile. Despite being undersized at 6’8, Montrezl Harrell provides great rim protection, averaging 1.3 blocks in 26 minutes per game last year. Also has a wingspan of a player 7’3.
Besides his energy and hustle, his ability to come over from the weak side and block shots will be a major contribution to the team defense. Harrell will likely finish many games at the center position over seven-foot center Ivica Zubac, because of his ability to switch out on to the guards. Zubac will be needed on certain nights to match-up with the bigger and more skilled post players. Besides his energy and hustle, his ability to come over from the weak side and block shots will be a major contribution to the team defense.
The Clippers also have versatile defenders in forwards Mo Harkless and JaMychal Green. Acquiring Harkless was an underrated move this summer. At a lengthy 6’9 with quickness, Harkless can defend three positions while giving Leonard and George some relief defending opposing star wings.
At 6’10, Green showed his capability as a “stretch four” in last year’s playoffs. More importantly, he displayed intensity, toughness, and physicality on the defensive end. Like Harkless, Green can also defend three positions, including center.
Second-year guards Landry Shamet and Jerome Robinson will give the Clippers capable defenders at the guard position to back-up to George and Beverley. These two are also long and quick which could allow them to get deflections and steals to trigger a fast break.
The Clippers have a ton of versatility and depth which will give head coach Doc Rivers many lineup options defensively. Once this team develops some chemistry, opponents will find it difficult to score on them.