With one week left until the 2014 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Clippers have curiously put their scouting emphasis on wing players when they need to focus on frontcourt depth–or the lack thereof.
C.J. Fair, Glenn Robinson, Cleanthony Early and JaKarr Sampson worked out today for the Clippers.
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) June 19, 2014
ICYMI, Clippers workout Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson, Arizona’s Nick Johnson, Nevada’s Deonte Burton and Cincy’s Sean Kilpatrick today
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) June 9, 2014
Talked to Russ Smith this afternoon. Has worked out for 11 teams, will work out for Spurs this weekend and Clippers Monday. — Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) June 17, 2014
Perhaps its simply a case of Doc Rivers doing his due diligence on the prospects that fall within range of his 28th pick, regardless of position. The Clippers did bring in Baylor big man Isaiah Austin for a workout on Wednesday, and ESPN Insider Chad Ford has them taking Michigan center Mitch McGary in his latest mock draft:
The Clippers lack a lot of big bodies up front. There’s virtually no real depth behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Had he not injured his back, McGary likely would’ve been a lottery pick this year. If he gets healthy, he provides instant toughness and hustle in the paint.
But none of the other aforementioned players stand taller than 6’7″.
This is worrisome when the roster features zero bigs beyond Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Glen Davis is likely to decline his $1.2 million player option and Ryan Hollins is an unrestricted free agent, not that either player makes you excited to get up for work in the morning. But it goes to show that even with one of the best forward/center pairings in the league, the Clippers lacked a legitimate frontcourt rotation.
A few numbers to highlight the issue, courtesy of NBA.com:
- Los Angeles finished the regular season 26th in opponent offensive rebounding percentage, .
- Griffin and Jordan grabbed 53 percent of the team’s rebounds in 2013-14, no other pairing comes close to 50.
- The Clippers’ .532 opponent field-goal percentage at the rim ranked 20th despite Jordan finishing 18th and Griffin among the top-50 in that stat individually.
Rivers has plenty at the 2 and 3, including a guy he stuck his neck out to acquire in J.J. Redick. Matt Barnes put together a career season, and at $3.3 million his production is a steal. There’s also Clips’ 2013 draftee Reggie Bullock, who has yet to break into the rotation.
The free agent pool for big men doesn’t exactly inspire confidence and the Clips’ expected $71.7 million salary (once Davis, Granger and Willie Green are gone) doesn’t lend itself to any significant improvements. Nor does Rivers have the type of mid-level trade assets to send out.
Let’s not forget that Jordan is entering a contract year and Griffin and Chris Paul will eat up at least $40 million per year combined until 2016-17. It becomes clear the Clippers need to bolster their inside presence, and the best way to do that is through the NBA Draft.
All salary information taken from Spotrac.com.