The Point Guards
Part two of the Clipper player scouting report will focus on the two returning point guards, Keyon Dooling and Marko Jaric. As a tandem they complement each other nicely. Each one has a different set of strengths and they can be swapped in and out easily depending on the flow of the game.
With the ball in their hands, Jaric and Dooling each have a different mindset. Marko is more of a traditional point guard. Off the high pick heâ€™s looking to either attack the basket or to set up the screener for an easy jump shot or dunk. Jaric is more effective than Dooling when they run the offense through the post. He is better with post entry passes and he has a good sense of where to spot up or when to cut to the basket when the post is doubled. He is also better at catching and shooting than Dooling, although Jaric struggled with his shot at times last year.
Dooling is looking to score. Heâ€™s an excellent player to bring into the game when the offense stagnates. Dooling exhibits amazing athleticism with a great first step and he can really jump. Unfortunately he depends too much on his athleticism. He tries to blow by or leap over everyone, consequently heâ€™s had all sorts of injury problems. Last year he improved in this aspect, exhibiting a deadeye jumper off the pick instead of heading hard to the lane everytime. His passing skills are fairly poor although his main problem seems to be a lack of desire rather than a lack of ability.
Both Jaric and Dooling are above-average defenders. Jaric, along with players like Mickael Pietrus, Manu Ginobili, and Andrei Kirilenko, is part of a group who dispels the stereotypes of European defenders. He is a good position defender, but really excels at getting into passing lanes. Jaricâ€™s height will bother most point guards in the league and allows him to guard shooting guards as well.
Just like with his offensive game, Keyon Dooling sometimes depends too much on his athleticism for defense. He knows he can usually use his speed to recover, so he tends to overplay his man. Nevertheless Dooling is a very good on the ball defender. He takes it as a personal challenge and doesnâ€™t lose focus on the defensive end like many of the Clipper players. Both players have good size and are good defensive matchups for anyone in the league.
Marko Jaric will start at point guard this year because of his better court vision and maturity. However Dooling will get significant minutes as a change-of-pace scorer. Because of their complementary skill sets and the Clipperâ€™s lack of backcourt depth, expect to see them both on the floor at the same time for extended minutes during the season. Hopefully this year Keyon can stay healthy. Injury problems suffocated Lamar Odom's development, with any luck Dooling will avoid this fate.
Baseless Rumor of the Day
I was listening to a sports radio station the other day and I heard a rumor of Dikembe Mutombo signing with the Clippers. Fortunately I havenâ€™t heard this rumor anywhere else because it doesnâ€™t make any sense for any party involved. The Clippers, with a dire need of SF/SG depth and four centers on the roster, donâ€™t need Dikembe. He would only slow down the development of Kaman and Ely and clog up the offensive lanes for Elton Brand. I have no idea why Dikembe would want to go to the Clippers considering they have no chance at a championship. This is one of those rumors that has no basis in fact and shouldnâ€™t have even been reported. Did Peter Vecsey move to LA without my knowledge? By the way, I canâ€™t believe Mark Cuban hasnâ€™t figured out a way to get Mutombo on his team yet.