When the Clippers signed Ryan Gomes in the off-season, the 28-year-old forward was expected to come off the bench mostly to fill defensive holes and leave the bulk of the scoring to the Clippers' starters.
But then Baron Davis, Chris Kaman and other Clippers suffered injuries and now, through 35 games, Gomes has averaged the third-most minutes per game (28.7) on the team behind Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin.
Gomes, in his sixth NBA season, also is being encouraged to shoot more often to bolster the Clippers' offense, though he's averaging 7.5 points per game, well below his career average of 11.5 at the start of this season.
But the 6-foot-7 Gomes and Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro aren't complaining.
"Of course I'd like to be averaging more points, but whatever it takes for us to win," Gomes said Friday after the Clippers practiced in Playa Vista ahead of their game Sunday against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.
Gomes said his role was "still evolving a little bit, but it's become more defined over the last 20 games," which mainly centers on "defense and waiting for the open shot" unless Gordon, Griffin and Davis are being bottled up by opposing defenses, in which case Gomes steps up his shooting.
"I'm not upset with that," said Gomes, who formerly played for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics. "I'm playing the minutes and it's not due to my play that I'm not scoring [more]. I'm confident in what I've been doing."
Del Negro said Gomes has been "more aggressive offensively for us, which we need him to do. Ryan's done a nice job for us.
"It's probably not the role that I envisioned from the start of the season. Now we're trying to get him to score a little bit more, and that's not his perfect forte. He's more of a glue guy that can do a little bit of everything."
The Clippers are approaching an oddity of the NBA's schedule: They play the Warriors three times in the next eight games: Sunday at home, Friday at Oracle Arena in Oakland and Jan. 22 at home.
"Doesn't matter," Del Negro said. "There will be a recognition of some things" that can be adjusted in the Clippers' game plan "because we play them [so often] in such a short period of time, but it always comes down to fundamentals and execution," he said. "And we know how difficult Golden State is to defend; they have explosive scorers."
Del Negro said there was no update on how soon Kaman, the center who is nursing a sprained left ankle, might return to the lineup.
"He's trying to work out every day, see how he feels," Del Negro said. "But every day it's a process trying to fight through the pain and see if he can heal up as soon as possible."