Name: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Age: 29 (30 in September)
Key Stats: Started 61 games despite having been a late training camp invitee. 11.5 net rating, 3rd-best among Clippers that played more than 30 games.
Years in NBA: 8, 1 with Clippers.
2015-16 salary: $1,270,964.
Contract status: Unrestricted free agent this summer.
After his deal with the Sacramento Kings fell through due to a failed physical, Doc Rivers plucked Luc Mbah a Moute off the scrap heap and gave him a one-year deal. Luc wound up winning the team's final roster spot out of training camp ahead of Chuck Hayes.
He played sparingly through the season's first month, but was thrust into the starting lineup at small forward just after Thanksgiving after Lance Stephenson, Paul Pierce and Wesley Johnson each failed to meet Doc's expectations. He'd remain with the starting group for the remainder of the season, and started all five games he played for LAC in the playoffs, as well. While his offensive shortcomings were maddening to watch at times, he was easily the Clips' most reliable wing defender.
Mbah a Moute's primary role for the club was to serve as a defensive stalwart on the wing. He has good size and strength, but he's also agile enough to stay in front of quicker wings. LMAM is a solid rebounder and thrives on doing the "little things" that aren't typically represented in the box score. His ability to defend both forward spots is something you don't often see, which adds to his value on that end. He's a heady player that should be able to stick on a roster as little more than a situational defender.
He also reportedly became a favorite among his teammates as the season progressed, and as we know well by now, team chemistry is no small thing in the league. You can never have too many positive influences in an NBA locker room.
For as solid as he is defensively, LMAM is just as bad on the other side of the floor. He's not a good enough shooter to effectively space the floor around the likes of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, meaning teams can essentially leave him alone and focus their efforts elsewhere. He shot just 32.5% from three-point range this season, which is actually a tick above his 30% career average. Mbah a Moute is a smart off-ball cutter, but doesn't often display enough composure to finish consistently around the rim.
The lack of confidence he had in his shot and reluctance to pull the trigger seemed to disrupt the flow of the Clippers' offense rather often. When you have a point guard like Paul that happens to be rather adept at generating open looks for his teammates, having a guy on the floor that either won't take or can't make said shots bogs things down considerably. LAC has enough talent around him to survive with him out there on offense, but a player that can consistently knock down those open looks is paramount moving forward.
Future with the Clippers:
Though Mbah a Moute was Doc Rivers's favored choice to start at small forward for the majority of the season, going into next season with a more tenable option would be optimal for the Clippers. Luc played well in his role, but he was clearly overextended. He's best deployed as a situational role player, not a starter on a team with championship aspirations. I don't think many fans would have serious qualms with bringing him back on a cheap deal, but finding a way to upgrade the starting 3 should be high on the list of priorities. Mbah a Moute should generate a bit of interest on the open market, but it's hard to imagine a team out there giving him much more than the veteran's minimum. If that's all it takes, there isn't much harm in the Clips re-signing him.
No individual moment from Mbah a Moute really stands out from his first season with the Clippers, which essentially sums him up as a player. He isn't flashy and he's not going to make many "wow" plays. He's just a guy that goes out there and quietly does his job.