One of the things that is most entertaining as a fan is staring off into the night sky (or computer screen) and wondering what could have been if a hypothetical scenario had or had not occurred. It’s particularly enjoyable when results do not meet expectations.
“What if the Clippers hadn’t traded away their 2.8 percent chance at Kyrie Irving?”
“What if Shaun Livingston never got hurt?”
“What if Eric Bledsoe was in the trade for Chris Paul and not Eric Gordon?”
With the troubles currently confronting the Clippers in their first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies, and Blake Griffin’s uncertain health, the most recent game of “what if” has been:
“What if the Clippers had been able to acquire Kevin Garnett at the deadline?”
The trade deadline for the Clippers largely focused around a rumored deal for Boston’s Kevin Garnett for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan. Would it have worked out? There are an immutable amount of unknowables; integration, chemistry, health, etc. But we know how all the involved parties performed from the deadline through the end of the regular season. And with that information, disregarding long-term planning and future health of the franchise, we can peer into a blurry window of what might have been the alternative for this season.
From February 21, 2013 through the end of the season:
Defense is much harder to evaluate by any metric, but if we just look at their raw figures:
It seems like an even exchange except for the fact that Garnett played in a substantially fewer amount of the remaining games:
How great an impact would Garnett have made? One can only speculate. But in assessing the base stats, there would have been very little difference in simple offensive production, but a sizable decrease in on-court time. On a team that has had difficulty maintaining their rhythm in the second half of the season, the lack of court time would have been a concern.
Here’s the other implication: if the raw output of Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan are similar to that of Kevin Garnett, is it as simple as playing Bledsoe and Jordan more minutes to simulate a vague facsimile? It’s an unknowable answer, but it’s food for thought.