While it's true that the bulk of our salary is being spent on 4 players; PG, PF, C, C., an obvious question comes to mind, shouldn't we be spending more on our SG & SF positions?
The simple answer is not necessarily, because right now we have the luxury of not having to pay for talent at SG & SF because the two current starters there are under rookie contracts. It would appear that EJ is in greater danger to lose playing time if he were to struggle because he's a true rookie, he's already been passed over by Davis(2), and the newly acquired Collins will probably be getting a shot to prove his meddle. But as we all know, the only option Clipper Nation can be happy about is for EJ to take this opportunity and run with it, while avoiding injury. If he does go down, we have bodies to replace him, but obviously not the same talent or upside. As it is now, we have a rotation of Mike Taylor (who would move BD to SG), Davis(2), Mardy Collins, & Steve Novak to back up these spots if EJ or Thornton were to go down or struggle. These back-up options aren’t pretty, but if EJ & Thornton can fill their roles, we should be looking pretty good, or at least a lot better.
As it will most likely play out, our 6th man and co-team captain (Camby), happens to be a Center. He also is being paid heftily for this year and next to potentially be our 6th man. Those statements alone have caused a lot of people to speculate about another trade being in the works, but there are plenty of reasons why they wouldn't deal one of their two centers right now.
1. They just created a rare front court power: By acquiring Randolph, they’ll now have a consistent low post threat, and a #1 scoring option for BD to look to. This takes a lot of pressure off of Kaman, and will allow him to concentrate more on help D, and getting better looks underneath. Camby will provide similar support to Randolph when they play together, helping to account for Randolph’s weak D, but he’ll also provide true veteran leadership and guidance to our younger bigs, namely Kaman & DeAndre Jordan. On paper, Camby looks like he’s a commodity, but he could go a long way toward developing talent if Nene’s success is any indication.
2. PF & C Quality for 48 minutes: The beauty of this front court situation is that a quality starter can be occupying the PF & C positions for 48 minutes a game if all three can manage to stay healthy. Playing Camby 28-30 minutes, leaves 33-34 minutes for Kaman & Randolph, which are reasonable starter minutes. And if Randolph can prove to effectively spell Thornton at the 3 for a few minutes a game, so much the better. Trading a Center now for a wing might fill our current weakness at the 2 & 3, but it would also create the same weakness up front if we’d have to rely more on Skinner & Davis(3), plus it could block the development of EJ and/or Thornton. One could argue that in this scenario, Skinner, Davis(3), & DeAndre provide better depth at PF & C than Taylor, Davis(2), Collins, Novak, & possibly Randolph do currently, but the jury’s still out for now.
3. After a Flurry of changes, some stability and evaluation is necessary. This doesn’t mean that the Clippers wont make a move later on, perhaps in the off-season, or later on next year if this doesn’t work out or if DeAndre begins to make one of these guys expendable. Of course, that’s unlikely to happen this year.
So after a brutal start to the season, I have to welcome this move simply because the team we started with simply wasn’t getting it done. Randolph finally gives BD a reliable 1st option on offense as he clearly couldn’t trust Kaman or Thornton before. Kaman should now find even easier looks, and Thornton should be used more exclusively on transition, making BD himself and EJ the primary 3 pt. threats. Defense will be more of a challenge, but I think we'll see more activity and commitment on defense all around once the team knows it has a better chance of winning.