The Los Angeles Clippers are known to be one of the most formidable teams in the NBA today. With the likes of Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Paul Pierce dominating the basketball squad, it becomes a challenge to stand out. Moreover, Doc Rivers is regarded as one of the best coaches in the league. Hence, it comes as a surprise to see the Los Angeles Clippers struggling to maintain aggressive and energy filled games this NBA season.
Rivers, who has been widely recognized not to mince words, eventually decided to remove Josh Smith from the starting lineup and go for Cole Aldrich instead. The changes became apparent in the Los Angeles Clippers' match against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Aldrich made the most of his minutes in court as they battle it out with the Kevin Durant squad. His performance, which was highly praised by Rivers, posed questions to fans of Smith. Will the latter still be able to regain his post after the said game?
"I thought Cole was amazing," shared Rivers, according to the OC Register. The Los Angeles Clippers head coach added, "I thought he might have been the best player off our bench in some stretches with his energy, his length, and his rebounding. He does his role. Cole knows exactly who he is, and I think it makes it easier for Cole. I like how he plays, and right now, I like him."
Before this showing, Aldrich only managed to snag few meaningless minutes in six games this NBA season. However, the inconsistencies exhibited by Smith paved the way for the backup to show off in the hardwood court. His performance even impressed teammates Griffin and Paul.
"The way he [Aldrich] played with the second unit, setting screen and rolls, he was just out there to do his job," Griffin shared. He added, "I think that is a huge quality for him. That was a prime example of being a star in your role and not trying to reach outside of that. He just did what we needed him to do and that was huge."
As for Paul, he shared that Aldrich is "one of those guys that comes in every day and does what he is supposed to do." The All-Star went on to state, "When Coach called his number, he was ready. I think that is the kind of thing that energizes a team. He plays with the right spirit, and he did all the little things tonight."
For his part, Smith is determined to take these changes as professionally as possible. Admitting that he is aware of the need for changes, the former starting center is content to support his teammates from the bench.
"Be a professional," Smith said of the changes in the roster, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. He added, "Be ready. You can't concern yourself with things you can't control. You just have to be ready. That's part of being a professional, staying positive."