The Clippers Have Chemistry Issues
It ever since the clippers acquired Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this summer. They've been one of if not the favorites to win it all. And I'm telling you that the Clippers will win the NBA championship dish. You think you're in the wilderness on that yeah to win it who who who was saying. Otherwise who is the clippers are currently third in the western conference and five games behind. The first place Lakers but some new reporting from the athletic has revealed that all is not well behind the scenes the athletics you'll von Boo joins us today to talk about how the clippers have been struggling to adapt to life with Hawaii as their their silence superstar and what that process could mean for their season. Either team reaches their potential Windsor Championship and overcomes whatever chemistry issues. They have right now or this is going to fall short from wondering athletic. I'm Davidson and I'm unders Kelco. It's Friday January. Twenty four th and this is the lead. It felt like something was happening. There is no in the past. Because you're not good. This isn't a story you're community the athlete it stays with you with the capital one venture card you earn unlimited double miles on every purchase everyday and you can use those miles towards travel expenses like flights hotels rental cars and more just book and pay for your travel using your venture card in redeem your miles toward the cost capital one. What's in your wallet? CREDIT APPROVAL REQUIRED CAPITAL ONE BANK USA NA. So you've on and when did you first start to hear rumblings that all might not be well in the clippers locker room so this all started a couple of weeks ago after a home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies but I just could not get out a third year in a surprising laws but they came in. Just whip the Clippers speech might twenty six points at home and is trying to find Guinea best to work right now and lettuce tomatoes. The defense of Clippers right now is moving in quicksand really is as a step or two late in their booth really lackluster performance. And I'd had already started to pick up on from being around the team every day that something was often the vibe in the locker room just you know guys kind of being weird around each other not being super play Foale and laughing and joking around and just the mood seemed a little tents and then after that game mantras herald the Clippers backup center. What one of the most important players just went off to reporters about you know? We're not a great team. Something online not a great team. We wish we came together this year. You have to heaven. Never been partners. Team still has to figure out we need to do to win the the the some tax what he was saying to me. There were some deep seated issues. It's January now. What's the vibe of the locker? Maybe you and Doc rivers this clippers. Coach apparently had some choice words for Herald after he gave that interview. DOC was very upset that Into the team publicly the next game game during the pre game meeting doc lights into Trez and causes them out and his yelling at him in front of the team and is making a point of like you got to keep the stuff internal you whatever. Ver- issues we're having whatever issues you have with our performance. You can't go to the media event so that happened at a team meeting deduct address any of that frustration in public. Lick it a little bit He was asked about comments and he downplayed it. This is not a great team right now. He was glad you're gonNA Walker and there's no notion you can get through this before you said when there are no routine yet joe you win. It's comments overall. Were a bit heated But he downplayed he kind of agreed with fries where he was like. You know he's right. He didn't say where a bad team we award you. Do you have to get better at a lot of things to get better. Not Defense offense our institution better known Alito Yvonne. It sounds like a lot of attention here is about the team's identity and the big acquisitions. They made in the off season. You know last season. The clippers were one of the feel good stories of the year by La Clippers. Oddly Warriors Court here down and they overachieved without any real superstars. Just you you know a group of of grinding amount workhorses but with the two superstars coming in it sounds like the teams identity is now a little unclear. Blazing Gentlemen Kawhi Leonard and bought Joe Hard headed to the La Clippers are we. Are We mesmerized by this news. I mean what the heck is going on. Where where Paul George come from? It sounds like there is a little bit of a divide between the new clippers and the old clippers where philosophically Kawai Ryan and Paul George. They're really focused on the playoffs winning a championship the big picture whereas some of the guys from last season's team that made last season he doesn't seem so Special Mantras Herro by Patrick Beverley rebelling for that is fifty three point of tonight Williams defended by these guys are grinders. Their Hooper Cooper that there are guys who they WANNA play every game if they can play. They're gonNA play. I think that Philosophical Division is at the center of some of these chemistry issues right now with with this team because obviously why does not play back to backs. Meanwhile the Los Angeles Clippers Colli Leonard. Not available tonight. Vote managing a knee. Injury is Mr Comanagement which no one LASSIE's clippers team. Whatever she dare do like good luck telling Patrick Beverley mantras Herald to sit out a game? Like that's just not how those guys has operated. Is this the first that we're hearing about teammates. Having an issue with coup is load management. I mean last year. We didn't really hear too. You much about what his teammates on the raptors really felt about this. Yes oh I've I've heard from people around the team that this this was a bit of an issue with the raptors. It just never really got out there. But I think the other element of this that has to be factored in his clippers about a lot of injuries agrees. Paul George is expected to miss the start of the regular season while recovering from surgeries on both his shoulders. PG said as of now. I'll be out of October fully. But what else we'll see in. November range is our target date so they've had more injuries in the. You know the Lakers the box. The nuggets like go down the list. They've had more miss game so their top players in any of those teams crashes hard holding his elbow over to the bench. It's one thing heading into the season saying saying. Hey you're GonNa Miss Ten fifteen twenty games. He's going to manage back to backs you know. We're we're prepping him for the playoffs. But then once you start having Paul George misses the first. It's Monday the season and is now missed. Almost two weeks Landry Shamet missed almost twenty games to Michael Green Patrick Beverley Lou Williams on and on on the list of the roster auster and then you look down the bench and you have a load managing and sitting out games that he may be could plan. And you're kind of like we're losing games now in part because you're sitting out and I think too quiet credit. He is not fully healthy. I think anyone that's watched him as closely as I've watched him can say I like. He is not one hundred percent he's probably not even ninety percent So I think there is legitimacy to the load management strategy but at the same time time going back to the Egos of last season's team. This is a team of guys who are second round picks You know guys who went undrafted guys who've had to scrap for everything they've got in the league and to tell them you know your best players not playing tonight like dot is not been an easy pill for some guys swallow and it sounds like another issue you've heard about is that Kawhi is given a lot of power in terms of dictating the teams practice schedule. Yes so one detail. That not really surprised me and I confirm this with with other people around the league just to make sure. It wasn't an overreaction but he's actually actually cancelled walk throughs which is basically a lighter version of practice the team will go through some sets some stuff they want to go over in the next game and and you know. There's been a couple of instances the season where is actually cancelled walk-throughs Just because he doesn't want to go through and the team as acquiesce his wishes wishes by instead of just saying article. You don't have to do this. They just canceled it altogether. You know one instance was literally. It's ten minutes before the walk through the team team is tying their shoes. Shooting around stretching choir goes up to doc rivers tells him I don't want to go through through today on the spot. Doc Rivers cancelled the walk through and stuff like that as really rub players the wrong way. It's not necessarily uncommon for a star player to dictate practices. Shoot arounds. Walk through those types of things. Your Lebron James Harden's you're Y- honesty's like those guys have that type of power but for them to have the team already at the facility getting being ready warming up and just the canceled on the spot like that that is not common and should be fair Doc rivers did deny that they cancelled the walkthrough. Yes and I I think doc has every right to publicly protected by and you know denied that but we behind it from both parties that this happened so we stand by reporting of the incident eve written that. There's also this issue that his presence isn't always felt in the locker room. It's a personality thing and this obviously isn't the first time that being detached has rub people the wrong way. I mean couldn't you. You just say like this is just his personality. He's not this like gregarious outgoing guy and why. Why is that? A problem you know guys wants to feel like they know you guys is WanNa feel like they have a relationship with you and quiet not gone out of his way. According to our reporting in sourcing to get to know most of the team he has a few guys on the team and he he sits on the plane interacts within the locker room. And I think there's an element of that. Where even if you don't necessarily agree with someone from from a philosophical perspective? That's a team of yours. If you at least feel like they care about you and WanNa get to know you and are kind of going that extra mile. You're going to be more okay with things but I think with Kawhi. There still are a lot of guys in the locker room that feel like they don't know him that well and for him to come in and start calling the shots and getting certain things. That's what's the RUB people the wrong way a little bit. Chemistry's everything what we look back. You know six months from now a year from now at the two thousand nine hundred ninety two hundred and twenty clippers. It'll be one of two things either. This team reaches their potential and Windsor Championship overcomes whatever chemistry issues. They have right now. ooh Or this team is going to fall short. And barring a significant injuries you Paul George to Lou Williams. I think if they don't win the championship it's most likely because of somebody's country things and because they just haven't been on signage hair Davidson Davidson host of the lead every day we strive to bring you compelling sports stories from around the world and we couldn't make that happen without the amazing local and national reporters orders at the athletic here on the lead. We can only bring you one story a day but the athletic can keep you up to date on all the teams and leagues that you care about their. There are no ads pop ups or Click Bait just great sports writing that digs deep into the story behind the story get exclusive player profiles deep dives lives on analytics team power rankings and fantasy sports insights from our team of more than four hundred writers. Each subscriber gets a personalized feed daily stories on your team's live. QNA's with your favorite writers original podcasts and more subscribe to the athletic for less than three dollars and fifty cents per month go to who the athletic dot com slash the lead thirty. That's the athletic dot com slash. The lead thirty to start reading today. So you've also found during you're in your reporting that the clippers have been taking steps to try and really address some of these chemistry issues. Tell us about that. Yeah so following the the clippers near disastrous weekend getting blown out at home to Memphis and barely beating the New York. Knicks Doc rivers met with six of his players. Quiet Leonard Third. Paul George Mantras Herrell Lou. Williams Pat Beverley and Mo- heartless and they met to watch film kind of just talk things out you know. Why are we having having? Somebody's lackluster performances low energy performances. And since then the team has had multiple players only You'll film sessions. Where where they they've got together? They've watched film. They've been honest with each other. They've held each other accountable. According to sources Colli has been a big proponent of these films sessions of setting them up he may not lead a team dinner he might not suggests you know. Let's go see a movie. Let's go to the club but he will say let's go watch it's film together you know it's not necessarily these sexiest form of team bonding. This is someone who is one of the hardest workers if not the hardest worker on the team team. According to multiple people this is someone that after each game takes an hour plus with his treatment and is really dedicated to preserving irving his body keeping himself healthy. He's introverted person. That is not a secret with Kawhi. He is quiet and reserved in in nature But at the same time you know he has become more comfortable within the locker room and as we become more comfortable he has become more vocal. So is it fair to say that this teams now in a better place. I I WANNA see the rest of this road. Trip goes before I really make a judgment on where the team is at and how they're doing. Count Me Skeptical for now. I WanNa see before I believe it because this recent stretch they've been on has been a very easy schedule. I I WANNA see them play. The Miami's the Lakers see how they fare. And then make my assessment. And finally Yvonne have the clippers and Kawais camp had any reaction to your story. So far I I don't WanNa get into too many specifics but we have had conversations within the camps of the parties involved Quite Leonard Mantras. Herrell the clippers. They agree with some of it and they disagree with part of it and kind of reading between what people agree with and disagree with. It's kind of what favors their agenda hung but we spoke with over twelve people for this everything we reported has been confirmed by a minimum of three or four people so we feel very confident that while sometimes the truth is a little ugly and people don't like like reading it or hearing it. We feel very confident that we are telling you very accurate and fair story Yvonne. Thank you so much you can read iovine Buha and Sam amick exclusive piece on some of the turmoil within the clippers at the athletic dot com. Here are some other stories. We're following at the lead. The big game is almost it could be the the pro bowl man. I bet. Lamar Jackson is so salty about having to play this game and Orlando and well. It's not you know the most compelling game to say released it has become sort of a laboratory for new. NFL rules this year. Instead of onside kicks teams will be allowed to run a play like as if it were fourth and fifteen and if they make it they get to keep the ball. and Are you ready for this wide. Receivers who were flexed. From the line of scrimmage will not be called called for a false start if they flinch or lift their foot before the snap as long as they reset for one second or keep one foot on the ground confusing at all basically the. NFL is trying to address issues that it's used during the regular season and the pro bowl is a good testing ground. Meanwhile the Galaxy acce- welcomed new signing Havi Hernandez also known as teacher Ito to the team on Thursday for his first practice. I'm going to give my best for this institution for all of have you to give you backed up confidence that you put me on. Hopefully we can. We can achieve the championship that we're looking for the thirty one year. Old striker is one of the most popular players and Mexican soccer history and signed a three year deal that could make him the highest paid player in MLS. And I mean this is really going to spice up the rivalry with Crosstown Foz L. AFC and finally the NBA All star starters were announced Thursday and to no one's surprise. Lebron Janas will lead their respective conferences as captains and other west starters include don-shik. Anthony Davis James Harden and Kawhi Leonard in the East Joel Embiid. Pus Calcio Com trae young and Kemba Walker. No uh-huh Jimmy Butler sadly seven foot six Boston Celtics player Taco fall. Who has played all of twenty two minutes? This year did not make the cut despite the high on the fan voting list a couple of weeks ago but there is an outside chance that he could possibly get in but only if NBA coaches. Vote Him in. Thanks for listening this week. Our producers are Lea Hernandez Caitlyn Palmer Matt. strope Chris Siegel and Chris Owen. Sound mixing like Aaron May and the big chill Lino Archly Novia Opondo. Our executive producer is honors Caldo. The show is executive produced by Lea Hernandez Marshal Louis an airman Lopez from under the the athletic. I'm Cathy Davidson. And I'm under SCELZO. See next week.