With Brevin Knight's health in question and an open roster spot after waiving Richie Frahm, the Clippers signed their 2006 second round pick Guillermo Diaz to a 10 day contract in time for him to practice with the team on Tuesday.
When Frahm was released Monday, it was originally reported by Art Thompson III of the OCR as strictly a cost cutting measure - the team would let him clear waivers in 48 hours and re-sign him to a 10 day, allowing them to pay by the drink at least a little while longer. But Brevin Knight's MRI that same day revealed a lower leg stress reaction. Although the injury won't keep Brevin out of games for now, he will be held out of practice, and the team opted for a combo guard in their first 10 day contract of the season.
Only problem is, Diaz isn't really a combo guard. He's a shooting guard who happens to be the size of a point guard.
I like Diaz. He showed an explosiveness in pre-season that the Clippers sorely lack in their backcourt. Sam Cassell and Cat Mobley and Brevin Knight are savvy veterans, Quinton Ross is a terrific defender and Dan Dickau is a very good offensive player - but none of them can even remotely be described as 'explosive'. There are guys like Monta Ellis and Leandro Barbosa in the Pacific Division. That's explosive, and the Clippers don't have anyone like that. Not that Diaz is as good, but he might come close.
Diaz has been playing for the Anaheim Arsenal in the D-League this season. His game logs reveal some good games, and a couple of duds. He's started half of the games, and come off the bench the other half. He is the team's second leader scorer at almost 17 points per game and he's shooting a solid 49% from the field. He does not appear to be the three-point threat fans would like in this spot - he's only hitting 31% of his threes (10 for 32) on the season. As for his point guard bona fides, he's got 42 assists versus 25 turnovers in the D-league. Not bad, but not really 'pure point' material.
It's interesting that teams tend to call up their own former draft picks whom they've already waived at least once rather than trying someone new. I suppose there's something to be said for familiarity with the system, but shouldn't that be a minor consideration. If you're really hoping to find someone who's going to help you (I mean, beyond 10 days), then there's time to learn the system. The Spurs did the same thing last month, when they signed their 2007 second round pick Marcus Williams (the one from Arizona) on 12/26, only to waive him again three days later. (By the way, Marcus Williams can play - I'd like to see him get a 10 day shot with the Clippers.) Teams tend to get attached to their players, even the mistakes, when they probably should be casting the net a little wider, looking for the next Kelenna Azubuike. Just a thought.
Diaz will be in uniform tonight against the Magic. With all of the generic Clippers healthy it remains to be seen if he gets his first taste of NBA action.
Final thought. As you probably know, teams are allowed to sign players to two 10 day contracts before making a long term decision on them. If that plays out, it puts Diaz ending his second 10 day stint around Jan. 28th. With the Clippers in last place in the Division, it's likely that some form of shakeup, possibly involving the point guard position, will happen before the trade deadline in late February. How Diaz (or Richie Frahm or any other spare part from the D-league or elsewhere) fits on the roster post shakeup is the real question.