L.A. Clippers vs. Milwaukee Bucks
March 6, 2013
7:30 p.m. PST
FOX Prime Ticket
The season is starting to near its end and races in your rear-view mirror may actually be closer than they appear. The Clippers are holding onto a slim two-game lead over the Grizzlies for the 3-seed in the West, but Memphis has now tied the Clips in the loss column. It’s going to be close down the stretch. Now onto 3-on-3:
1. Who would be better to build around: Brandon Jennings or Eric Bledsoe?
Eric Buenning, Bucksketball, (@ericbuenning): As much as the homer in me would like to side with Jennings here, the answer is Bledsoe. He is more of that all-around point guard that I’d prefer to have on my team. He is also more physically gifted than Jennings and a significantly better defender (99 DRtg as opposed to Jennings’ 106). His next contract is likely to be cheaper than whatever Jennings gets this summer, too. He has a pretty cool first name, too.
Jeremy Conlin, (@jeremy_conlin): Can I pick neither? I really want to pick neither. Jennings will demand a much larger contract than Bledsoe will, but if he’s one of your best players, you probably aren’t winning more than 45 games. Bledsoe, meanwhile, can be had at a lower price, but he doesn’t strike me as a true building block. He’s more of a peripheral player to go around another star.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): Small sample size alert: In Jennings’s last two games (both wins) he’s had more assists (19 and 17) than shot attempts (12 and 14). Awesome! But as Frank Madden points out, that didn’t happen in any other game this year. Bledsoe suffers from a different kind of small sample size (playing time), but seeing as he’s not a high volume, low percentage, shoot-first PG, he’ll be the better value.
2. How much is J.J. Redick worth on the open market?
Buenning: There are the rumors swirling around that Redick is asking for something in the range of $10 million a year, but I think that’s a little too high for a player of Redick’s caliber. He’s definitely valuable, but I’d say $6-$8 is an appropriate range for him. Of course, the Bucks will probably now sign him to a 4-year/$40 million deal. Sigh.
Conlin: He’ll probably get paid more than he’s worth just because it seems to be a seller’s market this summer. He’ll get the full mid-level at an absolute minimum, and someone might be dumb enough to give him almost twice that.
James: If you get him on the books for around $7 million a year, then you’re a savvy team. I won’t pretend to know what Milwaukee’s plans are for him — or what teams in general will do this summer — but Redick has consistently raised his stock since entering the league.
3. The Clippers are now tied with the Grizzlies in the loss column. Should Clipper fans be concerned about playoff seeding?
Buenning: Not yet. This becomes a Yes if they start getting closer to that 5-seed, though. A series against the Nuggets with four games in Denver would be a huge cause for concern. If they can secure home court (where they average 9.7 more points a game than on the road) for at least the first round, they should be okay.
Conlin: Probably not. Memphis has been on a nice run of late, but they’ve played a fairly easy schedule. They still have four road games to make up over the rest of the season, so they’re more likely to fall behind Denver than pass the Clippers.
James: Yes. And the team should be concerned—to the extent that it motivates them. The Clippers have the cushier schedule than the Grizzlies, but the two teams meet up twice before the season ends. If each team maintains its current pace, those will be their most important regular season games of the year.