There’s no doubt that the frontcourt one-two punch of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan is one of the best in the league. However, the Los Angeles Clippers could benefit from using a solid back-up power forward or center to keep the block party going when Jordan is resting. With the trade deadline coming up, there are a few bigs that they should be looking at to beef up their frontcourt.
Doc Rivers is quite happy with his current roster right now, but there’s always room for improvement, and what they need is another solid big guy. The Clips’ bench includes Antawn Jamison, Byron Mullens and Ryan Hollins; none of these guys are spry or imposing enough to clog up the lane and be a shot-blocking threat. At the very least, they need a power forward or center with a solid free-throw percentage that can alter shots. The Clips really need to get another big to help with defending opponents in the paint. Right now, the Clippers are ranked 23rd in NBA team opponent points per game, according to team rankings. If the Clippers are looking to get some big men, they should consider these ballers:
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks: Millsap is a man that loves to hustle, and he’d be a perfect fit for Doc and the Clippers. There have been rumors that he may be traded to the Houston Rockets, but the Clips should still consider him as an option before the deadline on February 20, 2014. As a starter, he has a very impressive stat line, averaging 17.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. He’s a starter on the Hawks, but he has come off the bench before and been pretty effective in that role.
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers: Although he’s not what he used to be for the Lakers, Gasol is still a very serviceable player. Sure, he’s a bit flat-footed at times, and might be a step slower, but Gasol is still putting up effective numbers. For the Clippers, he can definitely be a fantastic option off the bench; in fact he can lead the second unit with ease if he’s able to accept that role. The Lakers aren’t doing much of anything this season, and it’s quite possible that they’ll cut Gasol loose. The Clippers could use the highly skilled 7-footer that averages 15.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. He’s a bit banged up, but if he comes off the bench for the Clippers, Gasol may be more consistent.
Brandon Bass, Boston Celtics: Mr. Bass is a solid big man to have as a reserve with his big frame and ample defensive mindset. He can definitely help anchor the Clippers defense, and he’s already experienced with working in Doc’s defensive system. Bass lacks the height, but he definitely has the muscle. At 240 pounds, Bass is an ox of a player that can be a solid back-up for Griffin or Jordan. Right now, he’s averaging 11 points, six rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Oh, did I mention that he has a free-throw percentage of 83.7? A big man that can shoot and be a defensive threat will definitely help out the Clips in their quest for gold.
Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn Nets: This is probably not going to happen, but there’s always that small chance that it will. It doesn’t seem like Garnett is meshing with the Nets too well, especially because he’s averaging a career-low of 6.7 points per game, along with a shooting percentage of 38.7. So, why should the Clippers even consider Garnett? Well, a reunion with Rivers might spark something in him, and get him off his shooting slump. He’s still pulling down seven boards per game, shooting a great free-throw percentage, and he can still alter a shot or two in the paint. He may not be “the Big Ticket” any more, but he still has it in him to be a pretty good matinee show.
Glen Davis, Orlando Magic: Big Baby Davis has played under the wing of Rivers before with the Celtics, and he was also a part of the Boston Celtics’ 2008 NBA championship team. He wasn’t exactly a wallflower on that team either. The man is solid on offense, and he’s a 289 pound plug in the lane. Davis is currently a starter on the Magic roster, averaging 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. His offense is solid, and he’s used to Doc’s system already, so he’d fit in just fine. Of course, he’d have to give up his starting position and come off the bench, but that’s a small sacrifice to join a team that has a good chance to go deep in the playoffs or even take it all.
Doc Rivers, along with many others, has been irritated by some rumors that the Clippers organization was thinking of dealing Griffin. The rumored trade deal would involve the acquisition of New York Knick’s NBA All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, which probably wouldn’t be a good fit due to his lack of effort on defense. So far there’s nothing solid on letting Griffin go for a blockbuster deal, but it really wouldn’t make any sense at all to deal the big man away. We’ll just have to play the old “wait and see” game on that one. In order to make an improvement to their roster, the Clippers definitely shouldn’t drop Griffin, but they should get a solid back-up big man to hold the fort when the main guys are taking a breather.