Blogtable: Biggest impact for Clippers?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Biggest impact for Clippers? | Early Rookie of the Year pick? | Favorite Manu Ginobili moment?



VIDEO: Clippers introduce slew of new free agents

> Paul Pierce, Josh Smith or Lance Stephenson? Who will have the biggest impact on the Clippers next season?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Lance Stephenson, because he has the most to prove. I’m an admirer of Paul Pierce, but enough already with the “He’ll show them how to win” claims — the Clippers’ main guys shouldn’t need those lessons or a motivational coach at this point. Josh Smith sounds like he’s bummed that his semi-redemptive stay in Houston didn’t pay off bigger and might start rationalizing his downward career arc. That leaves Stephenson, who is hitting his prime and desperately needs to put last year’s Charlotte embarrassment behind him. If Doc Rivers, Chris Paul and Pierce have the patience, and Stephenson finds the dedication, there’s remarkable talent there in need of focusing and tapping.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: For the Clippers’ sake, they’d better hope it’s Paul Pierce. Intelligence, veteran leadership, postseason success and clutch play are all things that could help take the Clippers to the next level. The kind of impact they could get from Josh Smith or Lance Stephenson might sound like a pumpkin dropped off a roof.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: From a psychological standpoint I’ll go with Pierce, if only because he has “it” and as we know to this point, the Clippers don’t (Raptors joke there). That said, Stephenson is better equipped to give better on-court production provided he’s the Indiana Lance and not the Charlotte Lance. Or rather, Lance-A-Lot instead of Lance-A-Little.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Stephenson could have the biggest negative impact if he shoots as poorly as he did last season in Charlotte and becomes a locker room distraction like he was two years ago in Indiana. But though he’s also a poor shooter, Smith could help the Clippers where they need it most: on defense. The Clips had the No. 1 offense in the league last year, but ranked 15th defensively. And the defense was at its worst with reserves on the floor. So if Smith can help shore it up in key moments, that could go a long way in helping the Clips contend for a top seed in the West, while keeping the starters fresh.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: While I believe both Josh Smith and Lance Stephenson will average more minutes than Paul Pierce, I don’t think there is any doubt that Pierce will have the biggest impact on the Clippers next season. His leadership skills and the things that he brings to a team, both tangible and intangible, far outweigh whatever the other two guys will bring to the situation. Just look at the tone he set in the locker room in Washington if you need proof. Pierce is the ultimate competitor and still has enough left in the tank to serve as a crunch-time assassin. He’s fearless, even in the twilight of his career. And with a three-year deal, he knows he’s in this for the duration and not just a one-year rental. His impact could be the difference between a Clippers team that falters in the conference semifinals and one that finally breaks through to the next level.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: I’m going with Stephenson, for three reasons — No.1: He should be more coachable than ever, coming off his terrible season with Charlotte; No. 2: He’ll be playing for a coach in Doc Rivers who should be able to reach him; and No. 3: He’ll be filling a huge need for a contender that needs help off the bench. (All of that applies to the regular season, of course; if we’re talking about the playoffs, then Pierce should be the big difference-maker, based on his ability to turn losses into wins instantly.)

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All-Ball BlogThe most interesting thing to me is that each player can have an impact in different ways. We know Paul Pierce can still make big shots, but at this point in his career I’m not sure he can or will log enough minutes to have a regular impact on games. Which Lance Stephenson did the Clippers get? Stephenson could make a impact defensively, but his 3-point shooting last year was below average, and playing alongside Chris Paul would seem to lessen the need for Stephenson to have the ball in his hands at the end of games. Which leaves us with Josh Smith, who actually played a big part in knocking the Clippers out of the postseason a few months ago. Smith is versatile enough to play many different positions, and I think he should benefit greatly from playing alongside Paul, who will put him positions where he can be successful. So I’ll go with Smith.

18 Comments

  1. gary says:

    i believe smith will play big – but why no mention of crawford? smith nor pierce nor lance are ball handlers needed to run the 2nd unit and im no believer in doc jr – guess the best 6th man in the nba is not in the doc club.

  2. johnny dawson says:

    This is a team that will never win a ring. Doc Rivers is over-rated. Blake Griffin would rather be a show off than a champion. Chris Paul is a marvel but he is aging.

    The new look Clippers is like the Lakers when the added Karl Malone and Gary Payton, years ago. The over-the-hill big names made no difference. They lost horribly.

    What do you get when you add big names to a team that can’t figure out how to win? Big name losers.

  3. jake s. says:

    I don’t know who will have the biggest effect. It will surely be interesting to watch two bad shooters and an old man make a difference when it matters most. I’m going Paul Pierce with intangibles.

  4. Jsh says:

    It’s gonna be Pierce. He is a wise player and he has a great experience in the league. Another reason why Pierce will have a great impact on the team is because of his coach Doc Rivers (His coach back in the Celtics wherein they won the championships) who will be able to utilize Pierce very well.

  5. Paolo says:

    For me, it’s Paul Pierce. Not because of his veteran status but because of the fact that he can help this team take it to the next level by his plays and clutch tendencies. Having played for Doc Rivers in Boston is just a bonus. Lance Stephenson could also be the impact player out of the 3 new acquisitions IF, yes a big IF, he comes back to his old self during his Pacers stint and during his time as “born-ready.” In terms of Josh Smith, he’ll be competing for minutes since DJ and Blake are locked in for the starting positions and major minutes; Smith would be very useful if Doc decides to play small-ball, which is very possible given the roster they have.

  6. Josh Smith is definitely the x-factor. Pierce and Stephenson have huge huge potential to help the team and are great addition the 2 and/or 3. But as a Clipper fan, there was nothing worse than relying on Davis or Hawes to lead the frontcourt, while DJ and Blake on the bench. Especially when the hack a Jordan tactic was in place, we really needed a legitimate back up. And now with Smith able to play the 4 and Griffin on the 5, DJ will be able to rest or ride the bench without major concern. I really liked Smith’s game in Atlanta and his insane performances in the playoffs, and I have faith he will be last piece to the complex Clippers puzzle.

  7. taekayo says:

    Pierce, along with Doc, are the only ones who won everything. His locker room presence and leadership could even give CP3 the boost he needs. Smith brings the D they need, and will continue the “bruising” game of the Clips off the bench. But I think Lance has the most impact because he will affect the team both positively and negatively, depending on his mood. Given the team needs a steady 2-3 wing player (as they’ve dealt Matt away), and Pierce won’t be able to give the minutes he once can. Lance is given the stage to prove he is not a wasted talent. And his temperament would directly affect the Clips.

  8. justsayin says:

    Pierce is the most important piece. But I’m interested to see what would happen if they get a playoff matchup where the Warriors try to “go small” again. I have a feeling that Josh and Blake could work well together countering them in that up-tempo transition game.

  9. winston belen says:

    pol pears is a basketball has been. nothing left in his tank.

  10. rcjur says:

    It will be Josh Smith. Pierce is too old and Lance is a question mark. I just hope chemistry doesn’t become a problem on this team and these new players try to do too much. Smith along with Griffin and Jordan on the boards in the playoffs will be key to this teams success.

  11. phee-o-wheet says:

    For the Clips to be a contender in the west, they will need all three of these free agents to make an impact. A good bench needs to come in a game and sustain a lead or reduce a deficit on a regular basis. With the proper coaching, they can do that.

  12. john says:

    I would have to vote for Josh Smith. Smith is super athletic and he always feels like he is one of the best players on the floor. He will rebound, score, and play defense at a high level. Playing with stars will bring the best out of this athletic competitor. Doc Rivers will find a way to get him 29-32 minutes per game, especially in the playoffs. Chris Paul will enjoy Smith as another weapon to fire.

  13. dustydreamnz says:

    Pierce is the safe bet because he’s Mr Consistent. The other 2 are inconsistent so it depends which version of each turns up to be honest.

  14. Asher says:

    I believe, the only player that can make a significant impact for the Clippers is Paul Pierce. The clutch gene cannot be taught, you either have it or you don’t. Aside from thr veteran intellegence and experience, Paul Pierce has the ability to take over a game in the final minutes, and deliver the W. Doc Rivers knows this very well, as he witnessed it in Boston. Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith are both overrated and other than their respective years spent at Indiana and Atlanta, they will continue the rest of their careers bouncing around from team to team. Pierce will easily make the biggest impact out of the 3 new additions to the Clippers.

  15. Real facts says:

    I think Paul will do well. Lance and josh could be the two worst shooters there ever was and both of them think they can.

  16. Swingman says:

    Josh Smith played a bench role last year for a team with no real option at that position, now he’s playing behind the star player. I’m afraid that he’s not gonna love that and it’s going to negatively effect the locker room, mix that with Lance Stephenson’s rocky locker room history and they may have a recipe for disaster. I love that they brought in The Truth but fear that even he may not be able to help with morale and team chemistry…This will definitely be an interesting team to watch!

  17. Harriethehawk says:

    I’m going with the see saw. On one end Paul Pierce is key psychologically due to hid veteran expertise, which will be more of a plus, I believe, in the locker room, as it was for the Wizards. I thought think Josh Smith backing up Flake Griffin will be key in boosting both their offense and defense, if Josh Smith can loose his ego about his monetary worth (for now). And I think Lance Stephenson teeters right in the middle. Either he is going to get them over the edge of a championship if he is willing to be coached by one of the best in the league, or he will continue to be a knucklehead and waste the Flippers precious time. I’m not a Flippers fan but I find this entire plot very intriguing so I will have my eyes on them this season. Can’t wait!!!!