The month of August is never a huge news month for the NBA. The draft has passed, free agency is all but complete, and per-season is a month away. So what do sport media outlets such as ESPN do? They make educated guesses for the upcoming season. They have chosen Doc Rivers as the top Coach of the Year candidate, even though he hasn't had chance to coach yet. Not even one minute. The also made the guess that Paul Pierce is the 4th best newcomer for the upcoming season.
Well, today, they decided to chose the worst newcomers for the upcoming season. They have posted their list for the top worst newcomers to teams. Rajon Rondo, the former Mavericks hope to their point guard problem who signed with the Kings in the off-season for 1 year, $9.5 million, was chosen as the worst addition. Rondo struggled to fit in with the Mavericks and coach Rick Carlisle, and might not fare much better under coach George Karl and the Sacramento Kings.
The news for Clippers fans, although slightly better than the news for Kings fans, was that Lance Stephenson is considered the 2nd worst addition to a team this off-season. Stephenson was a key player for the Pacers playoff teams a couple years back. After securing a nice pay raise from the Charlotte Hornets, who were hoping to have signed a leader for their young, but talented team, Stephenson preceded to have his worst season as a pro. The season was so bad, that the Hornets were willing to dump him after just one season, trading him to the Clippers.
The hope for the Clippers is that Stephenson, although a decent NBA player, was over his head last year in Charlotte, and will thrive more as a role player on a championship contender, as he did in Indiana, instead of the leadership roll he failed in while playing in Charlotte.
Sitting just below Stephenson, are Wesley Matthews, who is coming off a severe injury last season, Deron Williams, who has regressed quite a bit the last 4 or 5 years from the days when he was possibly considered a better point guard than Chris Paul, and Roy Hibbert, whom the Los Angeles Lakers acquired via trade with the Indiana Pacers in July.
The problem with Stephenson being so high on the list, in my opinion, is that he is a low risk/high reward acquisition. With only 1 guaranteed year and a team option on his contract, if things don't work out, then the Clippers can opt out of the final year, and gain about $10 million dollars in cap space, in an off-season where the gap is expected to grow quite a bit. Also, they didn't have to give up any key pieces or future draft picks, which Doc Rivers seems to like to give away, in the process. With Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams, the Mavericks have strapped themselves with a player coming off a serious injury, and another who has been in a sharp decline the last few seasons, while Roy Hibbert and the Lakers seem like a bad fit.
Another new Clipper, Josh Smith, also received some votes for the honor of worst a newcomer.