Two down, one to go.
The Clippers announced the signings of Chris Douglas-Roberts and Ekpe Udoh on Wednesday afternoon, filling two of the four open spots remaining on their roster (The Clippers are expected to bring back Hedo Turkoglu to fill the third slot).
Both CDR and Udoh were once college standouts. Douglas-Roberts was a First-Team All-American at Memphis; Udoh is a former sixth overall pick who was a premier talent at Baylor. Now, they come over to fill a couple of needs for the Clippers.
Douglas-Roberts spent this past season with the now defunct Bobcats and is an athletic wing who can defend on the perimeter. The good news for the Clippers (aside from a chance to see that hair every day, if you can call it hair): CDR is fully aware of his 3-and-D role, at least he was under coach Steve Clifford.
Douglas-Roberts lived around the rim and the three-point line last season. 86.5 percent of his shots came from those two areas, essential for a guy who sunk 38.6 percent of his threes. He plays hard defensively and can actually put the ball on the floor when necessary. Most importantly, CDR is an above-average athlete who can put the majority of his energy into perimeter defense. That’s a type of player the Clippers don’t really have on their roster considering the 34-year-old Matt Barnes isn’t getting any younger, though he’s still an effective defender.
He averaged 6.9 points in 20.7 minutes per game in Charlotte while posting a 44-39-81 shooting line. He has played for the Nets, Bucks and Mavericks, as well.
Udoh, meanwhile, is the rim-protector the Clippers have been trying to find for the past two years. Though his skill set doesn’t make much of an impact offensively, he has averaged 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes over his career, including 2.0 per 36 last season with the Bucks.
He may not have much scoring skill, but Udoh is actually an undervalued passer and possesses an unexpectedly capable handle. He simply struggles to score and almost never shoots the ball. But like with CDR, that trait is indicative of a guy knowing his role.
Udoh’s job won’t be to score. It’ll be to play defense. Lots of defense.
Considering he is the second-best rim-protector on the roster—behind DeAndre Jordan, of course—the Clippers will likely want him to channel all his energy into that. The 6-foot-10 forward/center averaged 3.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 19.1 minutes last season.
Even though the Clippers haven’t released the exact terms of these two deals, we know they are both for the minimum, considering the Clippers are over the luxury tax and are approaching their hard cap.