Zach Lowe Absolutely Nails It


I'm excerpting the relevant graphs of his piece from today's Grantland (link to full article here), because he perfectly describes the situation facing the Clippers as the trade deadline approaches. This has no "it's the Clippers" or "they gotta convince CP" bias -- he fully acknowledges how good the Clippers currently are, and yet makes the case for why they should upgrade. Without further ado:

The Clips are in a fascinating spot. They're a tick below San Antonio and Oklahoma City by almost any standard, but if you remove the nine games Chris Paul missed with knee problems and his first return game, in which he played only 19 minutes, the Clips' average scoring margin leaps to the no. 1 spot in the league. They won 17 games in a row, and they've had success closing with Lamar Odom in Jordan's place and Jamal Crawford at shooting guard.

But is that enough? Odom is still shooting just 39 percent, and for all the talk about how Jordan and Griffin can't finish close games together because of their poor free throw shooting, Odom is just 11-of-25 from the line all season. He remains a very good passer, ball handler, and rebounder, but his work as a "floor spacer" on offense amounts to staying far away from the paint and hoping defenses make the mistake of respecting his jumper.

The foundation here just feels a hair shakier than it does in San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Miami. The Clippers will have to trade Bledsoe at some point for both financial and basketball reasons, and if they can snag a starter-level big man in exchange, they should go for it — provided they are sure they can re-sign Chris Paul this summer.

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