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first_imgPLAYA VISTA >> Doc Rivers has it in his coaching notes: “Blake should be a point man from the elbow.”Put Blake Griffin on the side of the lane, put all the other Clippers in motion, make the defense scatter, and let the most versatile power forward in the NBA run his own version of the Oklahoma triple option. Pass, drive or shoot.“Lawrence Frank (executive vice president, basketball operations) pointed that out the other day,” Rivers said Wednesday. “That’s been in my notes since the first week I took the job. But we haven’t done it. We already had a point.“Now maybe we can do what I wanted to do and never did.” And it will be at least as dependent on Griffin as before.Few remember that Griffin missed only four games in his first four seasons. He has missed 83 in his past three. Last season the Clippers were 11-12 without him, including 1-3 in the playoff loss to Utah.Of all his abilities, availability is crucial.“People on the outside don’t realize how hard he works,” Rivers said. “It’s crazy. We worry about him. We have kept a close eye on him this summer because it’s his nature. He calls us ‘the Gestapo’ because we’re always checking, because we know he’ll finish this workout and go somewhere else and do another one. Most guys, you don’t have to check on. They do what they’re supposed to and leave.“It’s the intensity of his work that sets him apart. That’s amazing leadership. He’s quiet, but the best leader I ever played with was Patrick Ewing, and he never talked, just worked. He would play 38 minutes and be in the gym the next day, and you didn’t have an excuse to be tired. That’s the message our young guys get from Blake.”“I’m extremely excited about our new players,” Griffin said. “Patrick Beverley has been a tough guy to play against for a long time. His team (Arkansas) gave us (Oklahoma) our first loss one season and he was the best guy they had. I do expect my role to change a little bit, but we’re big, we’re fast, and it’s exciting.”Introductions and directions will be provided by Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers. No one can possibly know what happens next.Beverley is limited offensively but is the Jack Tatum of the NBA defensively, and he might provide a few arm-and-hammer lessons to Lonzo BallDekker quietly developed himself in Houston, with shooting and size. Gallinari has averaged 19 and 18 points the past two seasons, which not everyone can do. Harrell is a big who plays big.And everyone is waiting for Teodosic, 30, whose silver-medal star turn at the Rio Olympics prompted NBA coaches to tab him the best player in the world outside The League.“We’re curious, too, but he’s been the best non-big in Europe the last five years,” Rivers said. “He’ll have to adjust quickly, but he won’t be like a rookie.”And this:“If his game translates here like it translated in Europe, then he will make us an unstoppable force.”The Clippers never can repay Paul for the credibility and urgency he gave the team and the franchise. He had the ball because he should have had it. Still, that confined Griffin, Jordan, Rivers and others to their own boxes. If the Warriors have taught anybody anything, It’s the value of five players and a basketball, moving in a purposeful hurry. Their open shots aren’t coincidence.“Change can be good,” Rivers said. “And it’s going to happen. Sometimes change is forced, sometimes you force change. You have to view it as a good chapter, that you’re going somewhere with it.”So much of Blake Griffin is associated with Big Air. Now he’s rooted in L.A. for five years. Growth should follow. Now Chris Paul is in Houston, a trade that was like a boulder crashing into the middle of the Clippers’ placid lake. Eventually the ripples disappear.When does placid become stagnant? When does chaos become creative?The Clippers showed they are re-positioning, not surrendering, when they signed Griffin to a five-year, $172.2 million contractRivers lauded Griffin for signing early and allowing the Clippers to trade for Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams, sign Danilo Gallinari and Euroleague All-Star point guard Milos Teodosic, and draft Sindarius Thornwell, a grown-man rookie from South Carolina.“This is a different team,” Griffin said. “It has a lot of size. It’s the type of team where we can get out in transition, keep the ball moving, play free, make plays for each other.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more