Just trying to find something to put up on the top of the site while SP is down in the Utah canyons. We can only have the Laker congrats up for so long, right?
And until the trade stuff starts to gel, which has already been covered exhaustively, it's all one big rehash, and what else is there to say? In normal circumstances we would be sweating out the draft, running at a high anxiety level, the Clips have the #1 pick and Blake Griffin is the more-than-obvious choice, a lock.
I was looking around at the other top picks, and the landscape has changed now that the Clips will have Blake Griffin on their roster. Chad Ford has finally reconciled himself to the always-obvious idea that the Clips will take Griffin, but no one has mentioned that the Clips trade pieces might net them another draft pick. SP has led the way saying that the Clips shouldn't have any interest in Thabeet, when they already have DeAndre Jordan. Jordan Hill no longer makes sense in any way. It looks as if Baron Davis isn't going anywhere, and we'll get to see if he can return to form. We seem to be focused on a "glue guy," raising the possibility of bringing Al Thornton off the bench. Blah-blah-blah: until the chess pieces start moving, it's all up in the air.
But who, or what, do the Clips go after if they trade for a pick? Backup PG seems to be the obvious choice. Talented and young, able to rise as BDavis falls, seem to be the desireable traits. There's no need to duplicate Mike Taylor either. Taylor is on the small side, quick enough to guard the Tony Parker types who will increasingly give BDavis trouble. Taylor has great energy and can score, but he's not a natural distributor. Rubio is unlikely, but he would be a great fit. The next tier includes Evans, Curry, and Holiday, all good choices.
There does seem to be some overlap with Eric Gordon in guys like Curry and Holiday. And this started me wondering: what do we think of Eric Gordon as a PG these days? His rookie season was so outstanding and satisfying at SG that we might be losing track of some of his potential and an important piece of roster flexibility. Should the Clippers, if they trade for a pick, be precluded from drafting an SG "glue guy" like James Harden? Is Harden a glue guy? Are Curry and Holiday any more likely to be successful at PG than Gordon would be?
I'm a bit haunted by the Westbrook example. The Thunder improved dramatically, and RW himself got much better, when they made Westbrook the starting PG. He didn't flourish in the time he spent at SG prior to becoming the PG starter. And now the Thunder are saying that they don't have any interest in Rubio, because that would mean that RW would be firmly embedded at SG.
Example number two involves Jrue Holiday. I'm a big Howland and UCLA fan, but I think, in retrospect, that Howland made his team much weaker by failing to make Jrue Holiday his second string PG. Holiday was his starting SG, and he had a Senior potential All-American PG in Darren Collison. But in Howland's rotation, Holiday sat down to bring in the backup SG (Michael Roll), and Collison's (limited) backup minutes went to Jerime Anderson. Jrue Holiday played almost no minutes at PG until UCLA was in the tournament. He showed, in a brief amount of time, that he's much better as a distributor and pass-first PG than he is as an SG. The best UCLA attack would have been to substitute for Collison early, rather than Holiday. As it turns out, of course, all of the minutes that Jerime Anderson got were valuable, because he's the only PG on the Bruin roster this year. But the Bruins would have been a better team, and Holiday would have had a much better season, if he had gotten a healthy share of minutes at PG. It was a tricky situation, Holiday was a freshman and Collison a senior. (Btw, Howland did a similar thing the year before, playing KLove, a great college center and an undersized, effective NBA PF, at center the whole year, and reducing the minutes of Lorenzo Mata, and then they were undersized in the Final Four).
Does the same model apply now to the Clippers? Is Eric Gordon the best PG on the Clippers? Should the first sub be for BDavis, with Gordon sliding over to PG?
Let me make the point that just because Westbrook and Holiday weren't successful at SG, while Eric Gordon was very successful, doesn't mean that Eric Gordon can't play PG. Westbrook, in particular, doesn't seem to have any PG skills that Gordon doesn't possess. And the Thunder are passing on Rubio because Westbrook is their PG!
This is fascinating. Of course it's easy to think that Gordon is already an outstanding SG, ready to step forward as a Ray Allen-type player. He's not a Jordan, Kobe, Wade, or a Brandon Roy, because he doesn't have the size, but he can more than hold down the position. But would he be better in the long run joining the conversation about Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Deron Williams, Westbrook? Just wondering.
If the Clippers trade for a second high pick, they take Rubio and you never ask this question. But would you take Harden or Evans? Curry/Holiday? It'll probably never even come up, but just because Eric Gordon had such a sensational rookie season, doesn't mean that his future can't hold some spectacular suprises.