Culture of Hoops

Josh Smith to the Clippers: Are They Now Too Deep?

Screen capture courtesy of the NBA.

Screen capture courtesy of the NBA.

Josh Smith has agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.


Clearly, the Clips are stacking up on both talent and depth to keep with Western Conference teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, and of course the defending champs, the Golden State Warriors.

Smith is a talented defender, but has been notorious for his less-than-poor shot selection in the past. On a positive note, he provides the team with interior help defense for DeAndre Jordan as well as an option to help Chris Paul and Lance Stephenson defend in the perimeter if necessary. Visualizing his role “on paper” is far easier than it’s actual execution. The Clippers hardly utilized veteran big man Spencer Hawes in 2014-15, mainly in part due to how much time Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan spent on the floor. If a multiple category contributor such as Smith is not utilized properly, expect chaos to ensue. Just look at what happened to the Detroit Pistons when they tried to get him to share a frontcourt that already sported Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Josh’s presence on the team was so much more a liability than an advantage that the team simply opted to waive him, allowing the Houston Rockets to swoop in and get him. Blake averaged 35.2 minutes per game as the team’s main scorer in the low-post. DeAndre was a minute shy of Griffin’s average at 34.4 minutes per game and is LAC’s best rim protector and pure rebounder. How will Rivers weave Smith into that mix of frontcourt minutes remains to be seen.

Aside from Smith, the Clippers acquired Lance Stephenson via a trade with Charlotte and signed veteran Paul Pierce. They shipped Matt Barnes and the underutilized Spencer Hawes in exchange for Stephenson, but can he share time at small forward with Pierce? Shooting guard time is rarer sighting than Allen Iverson at practice, with it already being shared by J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford.

In Los Angeles move to add depth this season, they are in turn giving their head coach a tough balancing act as far as both playing time and personalities are concerned. While they are compensating for what they were deficient in 2014-15, there is this called “too much of a good thing” that could end up being more harmful than helpful.

IF, Doc does find a way to make all of the team’s powerful pistons fire in just the right sequence, the Clippers should pose a serious threat to the likes of San Antonio and Golden State.

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