The Clippers Need a Complete Overhaul

kim kardashian

On Sunday, the Rockets won their third consecutive game against the Clippers to conclude a remarkable comeback. The Rockets never trailed in Game 7.

This series was not a story of victory, but of agonizing and demeaning defeat at the hands of a seemingly inferior opponent. The Clippers were once again unable to reach the conference finals, leaving themselves vulnerable to questions from every angle.

After defeating the Spurs, the team that serves as the barometer for success, most assumed the Clippers would steamroll the Rockets. In fact, some even looked straight past the Rockets in anticipation for a tantalizing Western Conference Finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors.

Defying every odds maker and analyst, the Rockets foiled this dream, setting up the first MVP vs. runner-up matchup since Lebron and Kevin Durant met in the 2012 finals.

However, this series will be remembered for what was naught. Sent packing, the Clippers will have to address serious and numerous questions about their roster and their management in the offseason.

After yet another season of failing to make the Conference Finals, the question begs; should the Clippers rebuild? The answer is yes.

This will start with passing on Deandre Jordan’s expiring contract. There be multiple teams willing to pay premium, if not max-contract money for the services of an elite rim defender and freakishly athletic center. There are two reasons the Clippers should not sign Jordan: free throw shooting and opportunity cost.

The first is simply the function of a cost-benefit analysis; is it worth getting a top 5 center if we can’t play him at the end of important games. Some agree and others don’t, but it is undeniable that paying Jordan more will take away from the team in other, more desolate areas of the roster, such as the bench.

A lack of depth is what cost the Clippers this series, and has been the downfall of ‘Lob City’ since its conception. In 49 total minutes of playing time in Game 7, the Clippers’ bench had a plus minus rating of -52. Signing a replacement level center for a reasonable contract (e.g. a Robin Lopez type at $6 million) would allow for significant improvements in much needed areas.

 

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Jamal Crawford covers his face as he walks down the court in the closing seconds of Game 7. (AP)

 

The biggest need is the perimeter. A movement has swept across the NBA where positions have become irrelevant. Rosters are constructed in an amoebic way, with an increasing emphasis being put on length (height, wingspan, etc.) The best perimeter player the Clippers have is Matt Barnes. He scored 0 points in Game 7. Rather than signing Deandre Jordan, the Clippers should restructure their roster to keep up with the times and sign a Jeff Green type-a long perimeter scorer.

Before asking if the Clippers should remodel their roster, one must ask if Doc Rivers is capable of being both the general manager and the coach. The answer is no.

There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is simple; as harped upon earlier, Doc Rivers has put together a poorly constructed roster. Gifted upon arrival with two established superstars and a defensive anchor, Rivers has surrounded his stars with absolutely nothing. Two of their five starters are J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes. The best bench player the Clippers have is Jamal Crawford, a player that hasn’t played defense since before 9/11. Their second best bench player is the coaches son who has been the butt of Blake Griffin’s jokes all year, and their third best bench player is nicknamed ‘Big Baby’.

The second reason Doc Rivers shouldn’t be coach-GM is that one person cannot do two full-time jobs. It’s as simple as that. If the Clippers want to reward Doc for keeping the team afloat during the tumultuous Donald Sterling times, they should have given him veto power over trades, not the responsibility of making a team while simultaneously coaching one. The combination of these two jobs may appear logical, however, there is so much to being a general manager that a coach simply cannot do while coaching a team. Both jobs are too time consuming for one person to juggle.

This embarrassing collapse to the Rockets should be a wakeup call for Steve Ballmer. The team, as it is currently constructed, will never win a championship. To reach the next level, you need to hire a real general manager, and make widespread changes to the roster.

Photo:  rushhourdaily.com / AP

About Will Innes

I am a sarcastic politics junkie who also loves sports and television. I specialize in domestic politics, international relations and contempt for the Red Sox.

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