Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
The Clippers' profound new roster depth gets an early test as 40 year old Grant Hill, one of the big off-season acquisitions will miss "at least two weeks" with a bone bruise in his right knee.
The Clips went out this summer and hauled in a whole bunch of guys, adding depth to the front court and the back court. For a while they actually looked too deep. In their last big signing they added Matt Barnes, a Laker castoff, to the fold... but how would coach Vinny Del Negro be able to find Barnes minutes?
The situation was exacerbated by the fact that Barnes has played really well in the pre-season. He's been very active in the open court and seemed to play well off the ball, especially useful with the Clippers good passers (Chris Paul, Eric Bledsoe, Blake Griffin (becoming the game's best passing big men), and even the off-maligned Jamal Crawford). He also proved to be one of the Clippers most solid and versatile defenders. But, oh my heavens! With the sharp-looking return of Caron Butler, and the addition of one-time-all-world Grant Hill, where would Barnes get minutes? Nevermind that, if, as hoped, flexible big man Lamar Odom might also need time at the small forward spot.
Well then, not so fast. As we all know, Odom showed up out of shape and has been held out of the last few pre-season games with knee problems (exacerbated apparently by uh... fat problems (some of which might be in his head)), and Chauncey Billups might still be weeks away from a return after last season's Achilles injury. And now, according to the OC Register and SBNation Grant Hill (who some of us had hoped might see time starting at shooting guard) has a bone bruise in his right knee and will miss at least two weeks.
With Willie Green's poor pre-season showing, a lack of minutes for Matt Barnes is no longer a problem. Actually the converse has become true:. Are we ready to see Matt Barnes for thirty-minutes a night? Is that really what we wanted?