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I am so overly excited to be back with the Clippers, it's a great situation
I'm going to do a bit of barber shop talk here ... but I think this situation is one of the rarest you can find for a free agent. If you asked me last week, as a free agent, if I had three NBA wishes, it would be playing for Doc Rivers, playing in my hometown and chasing an NBA championship.
I couldn't have asked for anything more from a team standpoint, or a coaching standpoint.
After I played for Doc (with Boston in 2012), I unintentionally made Doc references to everything, all the time.
The nice thing is, I am still home, not in a different city. Because I am here already, I can get a jump on the season.
The NBA is a business, and now that the business side of things are solidified, I can get to work. The business side is the toughest part when doing something you love.
The free-agent pickups
The Los Angeles Clippers have created a domino effect, it started with drafting Blake, then getting Chris, then Doc comes in and then it's full circle to get Chris again. And then you have your pick of free agents.
You aren't going to get a deal with a guy like (Darren) Collison without a coach like this, a team like this.
Darren is a huge acquisition for us. He isn't Eric (Bledsoe), who was more a mutant playing point guard -- dunking and blocking shots. Darren is an animal in his own respect.
My senior year at UCLA, I took Darren under my wing. We had long talks about what college hoops was like.
Now, we are reunited.
Darren is a starting point guard in this league. To land a guy like that who wants to come in and make a (playing time) sacrifice, you know there is something amazing going on. He played with Chris (Paul) in New Orleans and was a 20-10 guy when filling in as a starter.
His best position, to me, is coming off the bench as a high-energy point guard. He's a game-changer off the bench ... and really worth his value.
Someone has to pinch me, it still hasn't hit me that this is real.
Before he came here (to Los Angeles), you heard rumblings about Dwight coming to L.A. from the fans.
Before Howard got to L.A., the fans expected the second coming of Superman. The fans expected greatest, who seemed to be following in the footprints of the original Superman (Shaquille O'Neal)
L.A. got Dwight off a back injury, which is one of the toughest injuries there is ... he's a physical specimen just for being able to perform with that.
Dwight, respectively, made the decision that was best for himself and his family. He was able to go to Houston, and that's the best place for him to be.
You can already imagine how well Dwight and (James) Harden will work together. They (the Rockets) put together a great system (last season), having Harden as the centerpiece. He's (Harden) a creator, a clutch player.
You add a healthy Dwight and his low-post scoring, with the way that they (the Rockets) run, that's a very scary situation. It all comes down to Dwight's health. If he's good, they (the Rockets) easily are one of top teams in the West.
Breaking down the Western Conference
Time for a little more barber shop talk:
1. Clippers: I have faith in what my teammates and I can potentially do. Its about work, dedication, coming together as a team. I feel like we have the best pieces. But this is nothing past talk, we have to produce. Next year won't be a question of talent or coaching, it's just a matter of making good things happen.
2. Spurs: This is strictly based on personal and age. I really feel bad about putting a team No. 2 that came within inches of an NBA title. Even with age, they are still getting done. They plug in youth that fits the system and they get better. They are motivated and they are haunted (after losing to Heat). It seems as if Tim (Duncan) has found the fountain of youth over there, still putting up big numbers on the highest stage.
3. Rockets: Youve now restored Dwight to his comfortable position. Houston is a great fit, they way they spread the floor compliments his efficiency the paint. He's (Harden) one of the best decision makers in the league. This is a team that can contend for a championship. They are a bunch of young guys who are just getting better.
4. Warriors: This team has arguably the best starting three in the NBA, in Klay (Thompson), (Stephen) Curry and Andre (Iguodala). Thats organized chaos at its finest. Andre has always been a great fit to a helter skelter, up-and-down system. He's a 2013 version of Scottie Pippen. He's going to fit in well, playing with two stars, as he's a natural passer. He doesn't step on any toes. Even with the front-court injuries, this is a monster team, an NBA Jam kind of squad.
5. Thunder: They are only fifth because of the (Russell) Westbrook injury. They could easily be the No. 1 team (in the West). With a healthy Russell, that changes everything. (Kevin) Durant is as good as they come. At this point, we can't argue that LeBron is No. 1 player in the NBA, but Durant is a close second. The question at hand is how Westbrook comes off his injury. He will likely become a better shooter, you never know, he will probably come back windmilling like Dwyane Wade.
Honorable mention: Memphis, Utah, Lakers