Is the anticipation getting to you? Itâ€™s just days away now: The start of the NBA season and eight months of drama, plot twists and, yes, huge shots.
The Clippers werenâ€™t involved in either of last seasonâ€™s most enduring makes: Portland guard Damian Lillardâ€™s audacious 37-footer at the buzzer to end Oklahoma Cityâ€™s season in their first-round playoff series or Kawhi Leonardâ€™s jumper that rattled around the rim before falling as time ran out on Game 7 of the second-round series between Toronto and Philadelphia.
But both of those iconic NBA moments live on â€” from opposite angles â€” with this seasonâ€™s Clippers.
Leonard, of course, chose in free agency to sign with the Clippers, who also welcomed aboard former 76ers strength coach Todd Wright. The Clippersâ€™ new vice president of player performance suspects he wonâ€™t ever forget watching that Leonard shot ricochet around the rim and in.
â€œAny time as a coach you get a chance to watch a great player make a shot like that â€¦ itâ€™s one that youâ€™re always going to remember,â€ Wright said. â€œFor two reasons, how you felt, and the fact that they made that caliber of a shot at that moment, which great players do.
â€œWe had a short discussion about it. It wasnâ€™t a long one,â€ Wright said. â€œAnd it was one of appreciation. Even though I was on the other side, just how much I appreciate that moment that he tapped into.â€
Moe Harkless, meanwhile, was on Lillardâ€™s side for his big shot, which abruptly plunged new Clippers Paul George and Patrick Patterson into the offseason.
At media day, Harkless sat beside Patterson, smiling like the Cheshire Cat as he listened to his new teammate talk about the disappointing end to the Thunderâ€™s season.
â€œUh, itâ€™s a sensitive subject, but itâ€™s got to (come up),â€ Harkless said when asked whether there had been any discussion about the shot. â€œWe talked about it a little bit, (George) asked me about the shot that everybody obviously knows about, and what I thought about it.
â€œBut, you know, we didnâ€™t talk too much about it. Weâ€™re on the same team now and thatâ€™s who weâ€™re focused on.â€
On Saturday, JaMychal Green, Mfiondu Kabengele, Terance Mann, Rodney McGruder and Jerome Robinson went straight from practice to the Salvation Armyâ€¯Siemonâ€¯Family Youth and Community Center in South Los Angeles.
The players joined a small army of volunteers at the L.A. Clippers Foundationâ€™s annual food donation drive, where an estimated 1,000 families received bags filled with an assortment of vegetables, bread, non-perishable goods and personal hygiene items.
It felt familiar for the Clippersâ€™ rookies Mann and Kabengele, who spent significant time engaged in community service work at Florida State.
â€œA lot of times, especially in Florida, with hurricanes that will happen damn near every season, we did a lot of hurricane relief, giving out boxes and supplies to people in those areas,â€ Kabengele said. â€œSo this is like deja vu all over again. This is really cool.â€
Mann said he also read to children, fed those who were homeless and participated in events like Saturdayâ€™s distributing goods to those in need.
â€œI was big-time on community service,â€ Mann said. â€œWhat they would do is theyâ€™d have an awards ceremony at the end of the year and the team with the most community service hours would win the award. Our menâ€™s basketball team my junior year â€¦ and I, individually, was in the top 10, top five.
â€œI just think itâ€™s import to be here, for them to see my face, for them to know that Iâ€™m willing to help out, whenever they need us here.â€
The Clippers announced Saturday they waived forward Donte Grantham, who signed an Exhibit 10 contract in August and appeared in three preseason games, shooting 1 for 5 in 17 minutes of court time.
â€” Mirjam Swanson (@MirjamSwanson) October 19, 2019
I love Moe Harkless (@moe_harkless) already. Hereâ€™s him holding back laughter and teasing his new Patrick Patterson (@pdpatt) after his #Blazers eliminated Pattersonâ€™s #Thunder last postseason. ðŸ˜‚ðŸ˜‚#Clippers pic.twitter.com/Cd9vMFvFpN
â€” Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) September 30, 2019