With the Clippers finally starting to turn the corner in terms of health (fingers crossed), Head Coach Tyronn Lue has a good problem to figure out: the Clippers rotation for the rest of the regular season and the postseason.
In the last month alone, LA has had games in which they were out four starters. In these situations, players 10-12 on the end of the bench are going to see significant minutes, and for a team with the amount of depth that the Clippers have, this isn’t too much of an issue. In fact, it can give Lue insight into who might be able to make a difference moving forward. For example, Luke Kennard and Terance Mann have both made significant strides in the last month. But last night, when Patrick Beverley made his long-awaited return from a recurring right knee injury, both Mann and Kennard played less than 10 minutes, and the majority of the minutes they did play came in garbage time after the Clippers solidified their victory.
When asked about the new rotation, Lue made it clear that it isn’t set in stone.
If anyone else were to have gotten the short end of the stick, it’s reasonable to assume it would have been Reggie Jackson, considering he was out of the rotation earlier in the season. He also plays the same position as Rondo and Beverley, but Lue decided to slide him up a position and play him at shooting guard alongside Rondo. His three-point shooting makes him a good off-ball threat, but he’s not as dangerous as Kennard percentage-wise (41.8% as opposed to 48.5%, though either will be respected by the defense).
Mann gives the Clippers an off-the-dribble dynamic that they don’t really have off the bench now that Lou Williams resides in Atlanta. His athleticism and speed also make him a transition threat for an LA squad that is extremely half-court oriented otherwise.
Perhaps, as with many coaches in the NBA, Lue trusts experience over youth. Outside of Mann, Kennard and Ivica Zubac, everyone in the Clippers rotation has at least 10 years of experience.
As Lue clarified, this rotation could be completely different by tomorrow. Lue has always spoken highly of Kennard and Mann, and understands the time they’ve put in throughout the season.