Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Clips Nation's eminence grise Citizen Zhiv tried to slip under the radar with one of his typically insightful (and voluminous) comments in what he thought was a "sleepy little corner" of a FanPost. But as I have been known to do from time to time, I'm re-copying it here on the front page to expose it to more eyeballs. Steve
I've stayed out of all of the conversation on the trade topic, and my favorite part is that there's a clock and a deadline and we'll get to it and all of this will be decided. But I thought I might make a couple of notes down in this sleepy little corner.
[Zach] Lowe is right on the basics and gets the gist of it, but there are things that he leaves out, and some other stuff that should be mentioned. He says earlier "Chris Paul's prime comes but once," and notes at the end "... provided they are sure they can resign Paul this summer." SP has noted elsewhere that these two statements don't really go together, that going all in on this year isn't the same as making a determined run and building for the future, for the corresponding 5 year contracts of Blake Griffin and Paul. That longer term is the prime of Chris Paul, overlapping with the evolution and early prime of Griffin.
It's good, for a longer term, to have a mix of veterans and young talent. The exciting part is that the Clippers are a strong, perhaps the strongest, free agent destination, and guys will take less to play with CP and BG. This means that they can replace parts effectively over time. Billups, Hill, Odom and Barnes all have upcoming expiration dates, and the first two guys have been fragile non-factors thus far, while Odom is still working his way up to higher levels of play. All of this just makes the situation complicated. The absence of Billups, and the ample portion of minutes for Willie Green is something that Lowe fails to mention in his analysis. And Odom's stats are skewed, but he's also a continuing work in progress -- we don't really know what he's going to be playing like in April. The main thing, as SP noted, is that the Clippers could be a much better team all of a sudden. I also think that this break has been quite welcome for guys like Billups and Hill and Barnes, along with Butler and Crawford. These two extra days of rest are going to help these guys a lot.
All of which is to say that the Clippers already have plenty of old guys. Trading two promising young players for another old guy is just complicated, that's all. My main approach is what I said up top, as I have faith in the Clippers front office to do the right thing and not do anything stupid, and we'll know one way or another when the clock says time is up. The Clippers have been making good deals and good decisions for a good while now, and that's not going to change. They'll do what benefits them and both the present and the future, not something that makes sense for another team and solves their problems or brightens their future.
I'll just note that Lowe also says in the earlier section that DeAndre Jordan's "development on offense this year has been a disappointment," which clearly takes his article out of "nails it" status, as it's an outlandishly incorrect statement about a key piece of the conversations. DJ's development on offense this year has been a revelation. Through a relatively lengthy NBA tenure prior to this year Jordan had no discernible offense whatsoever, while this year he has made dozens more plays than ever before and shown a great deal of unexpected potential. He's not there by any means and there are many problematic elements of his game, but his improvement has been dramatic. Dramatic enough, I suppose, that people are raising expectations quite a bit, and missing consistency more than anything else. But now -- one could say, it's about time -- he's getting better and doing more and aiming more squarely at where he needs to be. That improvement could come in April and May, who knows.
I'm not going to say that the Clips shouldn't do anything. Instead, I'll say that I'm confident they'll do the right thing. Which might be nothing.