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Clippers Free Agent Retrospective: Luc Mbah a Moute

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Luc Mbah a Moute’s offensive renaissance propelled his rise from training camp afterthought.

NBA: New York Knicks at Los Angeles Clippers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Key Clipper Facts:

  • Invited to Clippers training camp prior to the 2015-16 season.
  • Re-signed with the Clippers in the summer of 2016 to a two-year, $4.5 million deal with a player option for the second year.
  • In two seasons with the team, started 137 games.
  • In the 2016-17 season, achieved a career-high 39.1% on three-pointers and 56.2 effective Field Goal %.
  • Signed with the Houston Rockets on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum.

Expectation:

Luc Mbah a Moute spent the 2014-15 season with the mid-(losing)-process Sixers. He was a training camp invite for the Clippers. This very site described him as having a “slim chance” of sticking on the roster. In such situations, a team’s only expectation is: “Don’t step on our star’s ankle.”

Reality:

His first season was a mixed one. His defense was as advertised, but so, unfortunately, was his offense. (His offensive game was listed as a fixer-upper.) Doc Rivers tabbed the all-bake, no-shake defensive specialist for 61 starts in 2015-16, but despite Mbah a Moute’s contribution to the starters’ glowing plus/minus, his place often felt like the result of a lack of better options.

That was not so last season. Luc had a mandate and looked more confident for it. He moved decisively without the ball and stroked with it, nailing a career-high — by a LOT — 39% of his threes. Luc lit it up.

In just two seasons, from the fall of 2015 through the fall to Utah in 2017, the Clippers progressed from “Where can we get a better Luc?” to “How can we get another one?”

Legacy

It was a mild surprise to see him leave, especially for a relative pittance. Reports indicated that Luc was still negotiating with the Clippers through at least July 14th, but he would join fellow ex-Clip Chris Paul in Houston two days later.

Mbah a Moute will be missed, and not only because the roster as currently constituted lacks something resembling his proven kind of long-armed wing stopper. But his overall legacy will largely be led by his nurturing of basketball talent in his native Cameroon. As it turns out, the prince is a man of the people.