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ClipperSteve's Official Opinion on Jared Jordan versus Guillermo Diaz

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Official opinion?  Isn't that an oxymoron?  Whatever.

This is going to be a fun topic throughout training camp, I assume, so I thought I'd get out there and let everyone know what I think.  For what it's worth.  Like you care.

We all know that the Clippers' roster is loaded with small forwards.  Maggette, Ross, Thomas, Thornton and Patterson are all best suited to play the three, although they can play other spots.  With a reasonable number of healthy bigs already signed (Kaman, Davis, Williams, Powell) that leaves the team pretty thin at the guard spots.  Leaving Diaz and Jordan out of the conversation for the time being, the Clippers currently are carrying two point guards (Cassell and Knight) and one shooting guard (Mobley).

So, at first blush, it would seem that they are more desperate for another two to back up Mobley, which would seem to favor Diaz making the cut.  But the one truly unique position on a basketball court is point guard.  For every other position, although you might have trouble matching up defensively, the players are pretty interchangeable - you can go smaller or bigger, it's really no big deal.  The Jazz have been known to play Kirilenko at the two - the Warriors have been known to play Steven Jackson at the four.  

But no one plays without a point guard.  And furthermore, when shooting guards are forced to play point guard, it rarely ends well.  

Sam Cassell will be 38 in November and was never 100% healthy a season ago.  Brevin Knight will be 32 in November and has missed significant portions of the last several seasons due to injury.  Throughout his tenure as the Clippers coach, MDsr has always shown a preference for having three point guards on the active roster.  There's just no way the Clippers open the season with two point guards.  No way.

Furthermore, Cassell is in the final year of his contract, Knight is only signed for two seasons, and who knows what will happen with Livingston.  In other words, Brevin Knight could conceivably be the only point guard on the roster at this time next year.  

On the other hand, both Maggette and Ross can play the two effectively.  It is also much easier to play two point guards (sliding Cassell for instance over to the shooting guard) than to play two point guards.

Which then leaves the question of whether Guillermo Diaz can handle the point.  Word from the Czech Republic was that he played some point there last season, but for some strange reason, the Clippers never let him play one in the Las Vegas Summer League.  Was that simply an unfortunate omission, or do they not think he can handle it in the NBA?  

Diaz gets raves on many aspects of his game, but I've never seen anyone describe him as a point guard.  He is, quite simply, yet another undersized two.  The team needs scoring, it needs players who can shoot with range, it needs athleticism, and Diaz has all of those things in spades.  But I am absolutely convinced that the Clippers will NOT start the 2007-2008 season with two injury-prone 30-somethings and a two being asked to play the one.  I wouldn't do it, and I think it's even less likely that MDsr would do it.

Jared Jordan makes the team as the third string point guard.  I'm certain of that.  I can't figure out why he hasn't signed, nor why they would sign Diaz while leaving JJordan's fate up in the air, but I remain convinced that he makes the team.  They just can't afford NOT to have him on the roster.

If indeed some portion of Diaz' three year deal is guaranteed, it may be that the team has something else up it's sleeve.  Maybe a buyout of Aaron Williams?  Do we really need Williams around, taking minutes away from younger guys like Davis and Powell?  We'll see.

In the final analysis, I see the Clippers keeping JJordan and cutting Diaz.  If it was me, I would be inclined to keep both of them and let Aaron Williams move on, but I don't think that's what they'll do.  

We'll find out soon enough now.