- The Clippers have likely improved their fortunes this season, though they’re still unlikely to play games in late-April.
- Who gets the really tough defensive assignments on the perimeter now that Cuttino Mobley is gone? Let’s use Dwyane Wade next week as the case study.
- Ricky Davis and Eric Gordon are the most immediate beneficiaries of Cuttino Mobley’s departure. Ricky will start for a stretch, until Mike Dunleavy can no longer tolerate his defense.
- If the Clippers are truly “done,” as reported, how do you divvy up the minutes down low? Bring Camby off the bench?
- The Clippers have $41.6M committed to three players in 2010-2011: Baron Davis, Zach Randolph, and Chris Kaman.
- Given that contracts with expiration dates of 2010 are valuable commodities around the league, could the Clippers have done better had they been more patient?
Smart recap of the trade and its implications from Kelly Dwyer:
There’s no point in killing the Clippers too much for making what is essentially a pretty pointless move. They don’t need Zach Randolph, at all. The idea of Randolph and Chris Kaman playing alongside each other kind of reminds of Zach and Eddy Curry trying to go at it, though Kaman has more high post gifts than Eddy Curry. Michael Kamen had more high post gifts than Eddy Curry, for that matter, but that’s beside the point.
Randolph’s contract is horrible, and I still think he hurts teams despite his point and rebound production, but the contract isn’t piling on the mess in the same way that Isiah piled bad deal after bad deal on his Knicks.
The Clippers had to pay Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas anyway next season, so they’re not losing any money this year or next, and with Marcus Camby’s contract coming off the books in 2010, the Clippers will have some flexibility in Randolph’s final year.
What the deal is, though, is pointless. The Clippers are 29th in offense, and Randolph will help, but what the squad desperately needs is some sort of wing scorer. Actually, they needed two. Cuttino Mobley and Al Thornton have both had their moments this year, but they use up a lot of minutes and a lot of shots to get their (average the two out) 15 points per game. There’s a reason this team is so inefficient, and Thornton/Mobley/Ricky Davis’ play at the wings has the most to do with it.
And as horrible as Baron Davis has been at times, he’s still helping the offense. Not a lot, but he is averaging eight assists for a team that only 35 field goals a game. That’s a Steve Carlton-on-the-Phillies level of production, if Carlton had a 9.72 ERA and struck out 12 guys all season.
Davis is shooting 36 percent, he’s taking an average of 6.5 three-pointers per game and making an average of 1.6 a contest (re-read that, it’s astounding), and he’s getting to the line nearly half as much as he used to. Other than that, bang on.
But while Baron should be playing better per his contract and abilities, he’s not the problem. Mobley and Thornton and Ricky Davis have been. The team is just getting nothing from those wing spots.
And the team’s rebounding, somehow, is awful. The Clippers are being out-rebounded by about five and a half per game, even though Kaman and Camby are combining to average over 20 per game. I don’t see how Randolph can help that, because his rebounding acumen will come at the expense of another good rebounder’s minutes.
So, essentially, the Clippers have further weakened their weakest position, added a superfluous big man, and a year’s worth of salary. Not the end of the world, but not good, either. Maybe they can trade Camby back to the Nuggets for J.R. Smith and a part?
UPDATE: Jim Lynam has told Ralph Lawler that character issues are no longer a concern for Zach Randolph because, among other reasons, Zach “has a good woman in his life right now.”