This is the ninth of our Clips Nation "exit interviews" of the 2012Los Angeles Clippers, an overview and analysis, player by player, of all 15 Clippers who finished the 2011-2012 season on the roster.
It's with some irony I suppose, that I have drawn the name Ryan Gomes to write an end-of-season analysis. Not that the analysis will be difficult or even unpleasant. We all know the Gomes' story rather well. But, I have been one of those who believes the loss of Neil Olshey can and should be viewed as a fairly complete disaster. Of course Olshey's acquisition of Gomes was his worst moves as GM (arguably as bad as the trade of Baron Davis and a number one pick for a lingering Mo Williams. But call them 1a and 1b on the terribleness scale).
Ryan Gomes fell from a disappointing last year to something resembling utter tragedy this year. He came to the Clippers in the 2009-10 season with career averages of 10 points, 5 rebs, .350 - 3pt%. He appeared in more than 75 games a year four times for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was a solid defender, could play both the small and power forward spots and was a dependable all around player. He seemed a smart, if not spectacular pick up for the Clippers after they failed to attract a big free agent (Lebron) in the 2010 off-season. Only then... well, you know what happened. In his first year with the Clips, Gomes wasn't very good. His numbers dropped across the board. He didn't seem quick enough to play the three and was small and inadequate as a big man.
Then this past year happened, and he wasn't much better, after a couple nightmare wrong-headed in-bounds passes, Gomes found a permanent spot on the bench. He logged only 425 minutes the whole season, most of those minutes coming in the first ten games.
He seems to be a good teammate. When the press chooses to talk to him, he almost always says something interesting. (He commented to Ramona Shelburne about Chris Paul's changing speeds and his desire to allow defenders to "climb his back", forcing them to get out of position and into a foul situation.) When he was banished to the end of the bench, he never griped, he never complained. It had to be a crushing demotion and he took it like a pro.
It would be easy to say, "everything" and let it go at that... but it's probably more helpful to say that his greatest weakness is his inability to find what made him good before and get some of that into his current game. I suspect his confidence is gone, and probably gone permanently. (Gomes WAS good once. In 2008-9 he averaged 13 points, 5 rebs, and had a .372 3p%. He had a PER of 16.7. Where did that guy go?)
Future with the Clippers
Unless they trade him (he's an expiring contract this coming season) it seems Gomes is again headed for the end of the bench. I don't think head coach Vinny Del Negro (and SENIOR CLIPPER BASKETBALL OFFICIAL shouldn't we be talking about THAT?!) will give him much rope. Personally, I think the Clips are done with him, if he's not gone in the off-season he'll be gone by the trading deadline. Is his career in the NBA over? He'll be thirty on January first. He can probably squeeze out a few good years in Europe. He's an intelligent player and a good communicator. His basketball IQ is probably higher than his ability. I wouldn't be surprised to see him as a coach in a few years.