For the Los Angeles Clippers, the highly anticipated 2014 NBA draft and ensuing free agent frenzy have proceeded without much fanfare. (That’s not to say the Donald vs. Shelly Sterling commotion hasn’t provided hours of entertainment.)
After coming within seconds of holding a 3-2 series lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder, then promptly crashing out in Game 6 of the Conference semifinals, there was a sense the Clippers were still one rung below the West’s elite.
Out the door went late-season signees (read: busts) Danny Granger, Hedo Turkoglu and Glen Davis. Darren Collison followed, landing a three-year deal in Sacramento. Possessing one draft pick and minimal amounts of cap room, Doc Rivers’ big splashes came in the form of sharp-shooting rookie C.J. Wilcox, Lakers’ castoff point guard Jordan Farmar and Cleveland’s want-away big Spencer Hawes. None of the new Clippers is expected to sell jerseys, but each helps to address lingering issues from last season or fill a hole that sprang open once it ended.
The 2013-14 Clippers tied a franchise record by making the playoffs for the third consecutive season (dating back to the Buffalo Braves), which says a lot about longstanding franchise expectations. If/when this team advances to the Western Conference Finals, it will be the first time in team history.
But there’s still work to be done if the Clippers want to be more than just the best basketball team in Los Angeles. Here are a few bargain-priced ideas to fill out the roster.