Dwight Howard has recently given the Orlando Magic executives his blessing to add the Clippers to his list of teams that he is willing to be traded to. Now, the Clippers join a list that includes the Nets, Knicks, Mavericks, and Lakers. While Howard would be a welcome addition to any team, I'd argue that the Clippers don't need Howard in order to win and NBA championship. I'm not saying that I don't think the Clippers should pull the trigger on this deal if it is possible. I just want to offer a different perspective.
The Clippers already have all of the major components needed to win a championship. Look at all of the NBA champions over the last couple of years. The overwhelming majority of previous NBA championship teams share at least two of these qualities:
- A dominant perimeter player.
- A player that can take and make big shots in the clutch.
- A quality interior player that can get easy points in the paint.
The Clippers have players on their roster that fulfills each one of these areas.
A dominant perimeter player
It's no secret that Chris Paul is one of the top point guards in the league. Paul can take over a game as either a scorer or distributer. He averages over 19 points and 9 assists per game for his career. Plus, he is a really good defender. He made the all defensive team 3 times.
A player that can take and make big shots in the clutch
Most people don't believe that the Clippers need both Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups on their roster. Many people quickly forget that Billups has a championship pedigree. He has taken and made some huge shots over the course of his career, hence the nickname "Mr. Big Shot." Even though he is 35, Chauncey Billups should prove to be an important asset down the stretch.
A quality interior player that can get easy points in the paint
I'm not saying that Blake Griffin is Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan or Shaq, but he is definitely proving to be a force inside the paint. His athleticism will allow him to make plays that just may not be possible for other players. When the guards and forwards can't get it going from the perimeter, it is nice to be able to dump it down or lob it up to Griffin for some points.
There are a couple of factors that may throw a wrench in the Clippers' train to the championship. The first factor is Chris Paul's health. He's already missed a couple of games this year. It makes me wonder whether we will get the '09-'10 Chris Paul (45 games) or the '10-'11 Chris Paul (80 games).
The second factor is the bench. Outside of Mo Williams and Randy Foye can anyone from this Clippers' bench be counted on to make major contributions? The Clippers need to be able to rely on at least one of their big men to step up. Either Reggie Evans or Brian Cook will need to give Griffin and Jordan some help on the front line.
Don't get me wrong, Dwight Howard is far better than any other front court player that is currently on the Clippers roster. Yes, that includes Blake Griffin. In the long run, it is much easier to find a player of Blake Griffin's caliber than a player of Dwight Howard's caliber.
Acquiring Dwight Howard would be great, but the Clippers already have the components needed to win a championship. I'm not saying that the Clippers should dismiss the notion of acquiring Howard. All I'm saying is that I believe that they can make a championship run without him.
Cliff Holmes is a blog contributor for Gold Star Games, a tailgating games company.
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