May 13, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers small forward Caron Butler (5) drives to the basket during the second half of game seven in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum. The Clippers won 82-72. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
Now that the Clips Nation staff has completed the "Exit Interview" series, Raffo and I now break down the team moving forward, position by position. Today we look at the Small Forwards.
After having the Small Forward spot be in question since the departure of Corey Maggette, the Clippers signed veteran Caron Butler away from the defending champion Dallas Mavericks last summer, ending a spell of Al Thorntons and Ryan Gomeses. Caron's backup is still in question, however.
According to google, a Small Forward is "A forward who is typically smaller than a power forward, and is often more agile and a better shot". SFs nearly always play on the wing, either slashing to the rim or spotting up for outside jumpshots. In the Clipper's current system, the SF has to be able to create his own shot, as well as score off of cuts and spot-ups.
So what do we look for in a SF?
- good spot-up shooter- how well he scores from mid-range and three
- good slasher/finisher- how effectively he drives to the basket
- above average defender- how well he stays in front of the other team's driver
- athleticism- how quickly he gets out in transition and finishes on the break
- creator- how good he is at isolating and creating a shot for himself
Caron Butler: 2yrs/$16M remaining
Caron started all 63 games that he played in last season, and at the beginning of the year he looked like a great signing. Before the all-star break Butler averaged 14.3 ppg on 43% shooting. After the break? Just 9.9 points on 38%. In the postseason, his numbers dropped further, but he was playing on a broken hand. Caron may not be the great signing Clippers fans were hoping for, but he is still a valuable player. He hits the three and can get his own shot whenever he wants. His contract is a bit of a burden, but with only two seasons remaining on it, the deal won't be too sour for the Clippers.
I love Caron Butler. I love his toughness. I love his unselfishness. I love his crazy eyes. I wish he'd go to the rim more often and maybe he will as he gets further away from knee surgery just sixteen months ago. I'm not exactly sure why he had a bad second half... but I'm willing to blame it on the compressed schedule.
Ryan Gomes: 1yr/$4M remaining
I can't recall a player like Gomes before. A starter one season, demoted to a benchwarmer the next. Even when he got spot minutes, he was so terrible that Vinny Del Negro eventually ended up giving him DNP-CDs for 32 of the last 35 games. Gomes shot a measly 32.6% from the field and a horrendous 13.8% from three. He is definitely an amnesty candidate going forwards, and I really feel bad for the guy. He was starting alongside Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin one day, and watching Chris Paul, Caron Butler, and Blake Griffin the next. I don't see him cracking the rotation this year.
Yeah, I agree with LJ on all points, though I doubt the Clips will amnesty Gomes because it won't benefit their cap situation. I would, however, be surprised if he survives the trading deadline. Really, though, the sooner the Clips part with Gomes the better for both parties.
Clippers Free Agents
Bobby Simmons: Unrestricted coming off a partial-season deal worth $234,000
I never really liked the Bobby signing mid-season. It was a ghosts of Clippers past type of thing. It's time to move on from that era. It's not like 31-year-old Simmons was a can't-miss type of guy at that point anyways. There's not really a ton to say about Bobby. He was brought in to shoot jumpshots, and he didn't shoot jumpshots very well. I don't think he will be back next season.
Well, no offense, but maybe LJ's too young to remember how really good Simmons was playing for the Clips back in '05-06. It might have been nostalgia to bring him back, but he didn't cost much, played some tough defense, and hit a few threes when necessary. I don't expect him to be back either but... it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
Free Agent Wishlist:
Nicholas Batum (RFA)
Gah. That's it? Batum's great, but there's no way Olshey lets him escape to the Clips. Delfino? Hey! Bobby Simmons is available!
Who will the 2013 Clippers start at SF?
Tuff Juice. It took me a while, but for whatever reason, the nickname fits the man.
Who will the 2013 Clippers bring off the bench at SF?
I think that the Clippers should move Nick Young over and have him be the main backup SF. Ryan Gomes stands to have a chance to earn a few minutes as well.
I thought Vinny Del Negro was forced into playing three guards (and tiny guards) for stretches last year. Then i realized he actually thought playing Chris Paul, Mo Williams, and Randy Foye simultaneously was a really good idea.
Nick Young would actually make the three guard lineup make some sense. But Young's slender, kinda soft and doesn't like to mix it up in the paint. The Clips need help at this spot.
The Point Guards
The Shooting Guards
Check back tomorrow for The Power Forwards