Players Lost: Randy Foye (Jazz), Nick Young (Sixers), Mo Williams (Jazz), Ryan Gomes
This past season the Clippers spent a significant amount of time finding a guy to replace Chauncey Billups in the lineup. They needed to have a shooting guard that could knock down an open 3 and play some defense. They also realized with the loss of Billups and the inability to trust Eric Bledsoe, that they needed a backup point guard. Their answer was Nick Young and Mo Williams. Two great pickups who would be able to bring the Clippers from a great team to a championship caliber team, on paper. The only thing is Young never played on a good team before and it is impossible to judge a mediocre player on a bad team, his stats were definitely inflated with the Wizards. He played decently for the Clippers, but certainly not how they expected him to play. The same can be said for Williams, except he has played for good teams and we already know he is a serviceable player. Williams never got his groove going with the Clippers and wasn’t the player they were expecting. The one player who possibly played above expectations was Randy Foye. Foye, who was drafted 7th overall back in 2006 never panned out to be an elite shooting guard that many expected him to become. However, he has turned into a great backup guard who has the ability to drop 20 points on any given night.
So how does this all work out for the Clippers? Was it smart letting go of three guards who are very talented and possibly just needed time to get in sync with the rest of the team? We are going to say no, it is hard to shed 3 quality guards and replace them with one, even if that one is much better.
1-10 Players Lost Score: 7
Players Obtained: Willie Green (from Hawks) Lamar Odom (from Mavs) Grant Hill (from Suns) Ryan Hollins (from Celtics) Ronny Turiaf (from Heat) Jamal Crawford (from Blazers)
Knowing which players the Clippers lost, we know what type of players they targeted this off-season. They essentially replaced Young, Williams and Foye with Willie Green, Grant Hill and Jamal Crawford. This isn’t a bad addition of talent to an already talented team. All three players will provide a much needed veteran presence that Young could certainly not provide. Crawford or Hill, whoever starts, understand that they’re playing second fiddle to the likes of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. This is what the team needed, Young perhaps wanted to be a bigger part of the team than the team needed him to be. Crawford and Hill, who have that same type of ability as Young to be a major contributor are willing to take less of a role to be a part of something greater than scoring 15-20 unimportant points per night. We really like the additions of these two guards as well as Willie Green, who has been a career backup guard. We will see if Lamar Odom’s return to Los Angeles will revive his career again. Losing Mo Williams for Lamar Odom doesn’t seem to make sense with the season Odom had last year, but if Odom can return to the form that he displayed when the Lakers had him, then this is a steal for the Clippers. Turiaf is the most fun player to have on your bench, regardless if he plays or not Clippers fans will fall in love with his over-the-top celebrations and overall team pride. Ryan Hollins is a nice pickup too, he might be able to improve significantly under Griffin and Jordan.
1-10 Players Obtained Score: 9
Short Term Outlook: The Clippers will enter this season with high expectations. Coming off a great first year of “Lob City” they will be looking to take a bigger step towards a finals run. They have the talent in two players alone, if they can properly surround Paul and Griffin with the right players, creating that perfect chemistry, then this team is dangerous. Crawford and Hill are tremendous additions, and a healthy Chauncey Billups backing up Paul is quite a combo. Lamar Odom could compete for 6th man of the year again, and most likely will be up against one of his own teammates. This team needs to stay healthy; Paul, Griffin, Hill and Billups have all dealt with significant injuries in their career and it could be what breaks this team. They will need each player to play at their best, and if they do, don’t be surprised if this team is giving the Thunder a run for their money as the Western Conference Champions. That is a lot to ask out of a 35-year-old point guard coming off a torn Achilles tendon and a 39-year-old Grant Hill who finally showed his age last year with the Suns. But the Clippers still have Paul, Griffin and Jordan; and that alone makes a great team.
1-10 Short Term Outlook Score: 10
Long Term Outlook: This teams long term outlook is closely related with their short term outlook. A lot of what the future of the Clippers will look like depends on how the team fares this coming season. No NBA fan will ever let go of trade talk centered around impending superstar free agents. Chris Paul, is precisely that. There has been so much discussion about Chris Paul teaming up with Melo in New York and before last year when Paul was twice traded and once blocked from joining a new team, Paul to the Knicks seemed very possible. While it is very unlikely that Paul could join the Knicks now, although it is still possible, there is still the chance he leaves for another team if the season ends in disappointment for him and the Clippers. This would kill the team, especially knowing that Blake Griffin is dependent on a point guard like Chris Paul. The Clippers are built to win this year and this is why they went out and signed players who aren’t getting any better, but could add value to a team that is trying to win immediately. I wouldn’t anticipate Chris Paul leaving LA, but he has already declined to re-sign an extension, so there is something to be said for that.
1-10 Long Term Outlook Score: 7
State of the Organization Index: 33 out of 40
Courtesy of thetapedeck.net