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Building a Basketball Team: Character, or Characters

Apr 18, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers small forward Matt Barnes (right) reacts after receiving a technical foul from NBA referee J.T. Orr (left) during the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. Los Angeles defeated Golden State 99-87. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

I don't like Matt Barnes. I have a standing predisposition to dislike Matt Barnes. Because, like most of you, I've watched him play over the last few years. He's a punk. He gets in fights. He's been arrested for domestic violence and outstanding traffic warrants, and in the latter of the two cases he was charged with resisting arrest. He's covered with tattoos and at the end of the day he's just creepy looking. John Raffo would assure you, as he assured me in a text earlier, that Barnes is a good looking guy. C'mon now.

The dude was smiling in his mugshot. Google it. It's pretty freaking creepy.

Matt Barnes is a character.

I would say that going into this summer I would say I was neutral towards Adam Morrison. I knew he wasn't very good, I knew he had that nasty stache, and I knew he rode the bench on the Lakers after a lackluster career in Charlotte and stardom at Gonzaga. For the last two seasons, AmMo wasn't even in the NBA. He was overseas, and he was working hard, and he was getting better. And when Adam Morrison came into Las Vegas this July, he lit it up. And Adam Morrison was suddenly able to play in the NBA again. I wanted the Clippers to Pay The Man, and I still wish that they had. When I see a kid who had everything handed to him, who was on scholarship at Gonzaga and got picked #3 in the 2006 draft, and who flopped in the league, it's nothing new. It happens from time to time. But when that same kid goes overseas, reinvents himself, and becomes an NBA player- that's character.

Adam Morrison has character.

Do you understand the difference between having character, and being a character?

Now, here's the fact of the matter. It's the NBA. It's a business. It doesn't matter how great of a person the players are or aren't. It matters if they can play, and how they fit on the team.

Let me be frank: while I hate Matt Barnes, if Ryan Gomes was still the Clippers' starting SF, I would take Barnes in a heartbeat. The Clippers would need him and he would significantly improve the team.

But Ryan Gomes got amnestied (poor RyGo), and Caron Butler is starting now. And Grant Hill is coming off the bench. Two guys who aren't characters, but who have character, and are better players than Barnes.

The Clippers simply do not need to take the risk on an unstable guy right now. There's no point to it. There's a very high risk, and a very low reward. Where is Barnes going to find minutes? You get 144 minutes between PG, SG, and SF. Chris Paul gets his. Then you have to take care of Chauncey and Caron. Then Mr. Crawford and Mr. Hill. We can also agree that Bledsoe is ahead of Barnes. Then what's left? Divvy the scraps up between Willie Green and Matt Barnes. So depending on Green, the Clippers took a risk on a crazy guy to be their 7th or 8th best perimeter player. Are you kidding me? He's not going to play. And that's just going to make the chances of him causing issues in the locker room even higher.

I would rather have Adam Morrison. A quiet guy who works hard, has played in the league, and has won some rings. He can hit an open shot, and he's used to not playing, unlike Barnes who has gotten rotation minutes throughout his career.

I would rather have Bobby Simmons. A veteran Clipper who I don't even like who started a playoff game for the Clippers last year and knows the team and coaching staff and fans.

I would rather have Ryan Gomes. Seriously. He's not going to play. Wouldn't you rather have an intelligent guy who everyone seems to like at the end of the bench?

I would rather have an empty chair. Matt Barnes will add nothing to this team unless there are injuries. He could potentially take away a lot.

Someone commented "welcome to championship contention, LJ" on Don Raffo's (if he even deserves the title 'Don') thread. Sorry. I forgot that championship contenders were defined by their 8th best perimeter player who doesn't make sense with the rest of the roster. Championship teams do have crazy guys sometimes. But they have them sparingly, and only where needed. It's safe to say that Lamar Odom will need some guidance from Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups this season. The Clippers have to take that risk. They need his production and this was the only way to get it.

Why would you take that risk on a third stringer? Because your front office is just filling in a depth chart.

"Hey, Gary. Looks like we need a third SF. We only have two of those and three of everything else."

"Alright Vinny, who is still out there?"

"I dunno, let me check ESPN.... hmmm... oh, I recognize the name Matt Barnes from somewhere... can't quite place him though."

"Alright, I'll call his agent."

Chris Paul is not the GM. Chris Paul is not the GM. Chris Paul is not the GM. Chris Paul is not the GM.

Say it with me, everyone.

You wanna swashbuckle, Raffo? Let's swashbuckle.