PLAYA DEL REY — Coach Tyronn Lue has not said who would start at the point guard position when the Clippers open the season Thursday night – John Wall or Reggie Jackson – a reveal that could come in the next few days.
Jackson, though, isn’t sitting around worrying about it. He doesn’t care if he lines up alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George when tipoff comes or enters the game with the second unit.
“I just care about winning, man,” he said Saturday, brushing aside any ideas of a rivalry with Wall. “I’m not the coach, (I) just have to figure out how to win.”
If history is any indication, Wall will be on the floor when the Clippers open their season Thursday against the Lakers. He has come off the bench only 12 times in his 13-year career. But if his words are to be believed, he, too, isn’t concerned about whether he starts or not.
“For me, I’m just happy to play basketball again,” said Wall, who did not play last season following a series of injuries that have hampered his career. “I’m a competitor, I know a lot of people ask me, ‘Are you mad if you start or not start?’ I don’t care.
“I’m a competitor and I just want an opportunity to go out there and compete for a spot, and if I get it, I get it. And if I don’t, we know how talented Reggie Jackson is and what he’s done for this team and helping these guys out, especially when Kawhi and PG was out. Even when they were there, he’s a great piece.”
Lue said last week that the competition was ongoing, but the determining factor would be how the players fit with each unit. Wall brings a veteran’s experience and is eager to prove himself. Jackson started all 75 games he played last season.
“I think which guy fits better with the first unit and which guy fits better with the second unit, who plays well together,” Lue said. “It’s not about who’s the best player, it’s about what’s the best fit for our team to win and be successful, and so that’s what I’m looking for.”
Jackson has been in position battles before, first in Oklahoma City playing behind Russell Westbrook, and when he first joined the Clippers in 2020 when Patrick Beverly was on the roster.
“I just always want the opportunity to be the best that you can be, so that’s always been something that I strive for, but other than that. … Like I said, I don’t coach,” Jackson said. “I just want to have the opportunity when I walk into camp to be the best player I can be and then with all the talent we got, I hope we figure it out.”
Swingman Terance Mann said it doesn’t matter to him who starts and finishes at the point. He said Wall and Jackson bring different skill sets.
“They both bring different things to each unit. It depends on each lineup, so give or take, it’s going to be a great night if either of them are at the point,” Mann said.
Mann agreed that Wall brings a quicker pace to the second unit, saying, “Being able to get out in transition, he likes to push the pace a lot. I’m able to keep up with him, so it’s fun playing with him and getting out and running.”
ROSTER CLOSER TO BEING FINALIZED
The Clippers signed 7-foot-2 rookie center Moses Brown (UCLA) to a two-way contract on Saturday, taking the second two-way spot. Center Moussa Diabate already had signed the other.
Brown, who played one season at UCLA, played in only two preseason games and scored a combined 13 points.
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They also signed Bryson Williams, a rookie forward out of Texas Tech, but then waived him. He is expected to join the Ontario Clippers of the G-League. He played five summer league games with the Heat.
On Thursday, the Clippers trimmed the roster in advance of the season, waiving Xavier Moon, Nate Darling and Malik Fitts. Moon had signed a deal with the G-League team and ended up signing three 10-day contracts with the Clippers last season. He is expected to play in Ontario.
The moves leave the Clippers with 16 total players under contract, with 14 having guaranteed contracts for this season.