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Clippers Retrospective: Garrett Temple Was a Nice Addition at the Trade Deadline

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Garrett Temple didn’t play very long for the Clippers, but his greatest strength was what he took away from the team — a certain unstatable guard named Avery Bradley.

Golden State Warriors v LA Clippers - Game Three Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

  • Was acquired from Grizzlies along with JaMychal Green for Avery Bradley on February 7, 2019
  • Appeared in 26 regular season games with the Clippers, starting 6, and played in all of their playoff games against the Warriors
  • In 19.6 minutes per game, averaged 4.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.0 steals
  • Shot 39.6% from the field, 29.6% from three (2.1 attempts per game), and 74.2% from the free throw line (1.2 attempts)
  • Signed with the Brooklyn Nets as an unrestricted free agent on July 8, for a 2 year, $9.77 deal

Expectations

Clippers’ fans were so happy that Avery Bradley was off the team that the only expectation for Temple was to be better than the steaming pool of dumpster juice that had been Bradley’s contributions to the team. Realistically, Clippers’ fans thought Temple would provide tough, hard-nosed defense while being a threat from deep, all while giving at least some tertiary ballhandling ability. Originally, it was thought that Temple would start at small forward alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Pat Beverley, but probably would not close games due to the presence of Lou Williams.

Reality

Temple started only two games for the Clippers before he was supplanted in the starting unit by rookie Landry Shamet, who quickly revealed himself to be a special shooter. However, Temple’s minutes remained steady, as he averaged right around 20 minutes per game the rest of the season, and got spot starts when other key guys were injured or sat to rest. His defense more than lived up to expectations. He was excellent on ball with his length, height, and activity, and was a massive upgrade from Bradley there. His size, in particular, was helpful when playing alongside Beverley and Williams, and he also proved to be a menace in passing lanes. His propensity for steals helped get the Clippers out in transition, and he seemed to get an easy layup or two each game.

Unfortunately, Temple’ stint with the Clippers was a letdown in one important aspect – he failed to fulfill the “3” element of the “3 and D” prototype. Temple shot just under 30% from three and didn’t get many of them up, probably because he was on such a cold streak. Considering he’s a 35.3% shooter from three for his career, it’s likely that he was just in his head a bit, but it did effect his play, and he passed up quite a few looks he should have taken. Worse, this poor shooting extended into the playoffs, as he hit just one of seven threes over six games. While his defense was phenomenal against the Warriors (especially on Steph Curry), he was such a non-threat offensively that Doc Rivers had to curtail his minutes, and his role shrank.

In the locker room, as he’s been throughout his career, Temple was a plus, fitting right in with the Clippers’ team-first, hard-working mentality. He did some things well for the Clippers, and was a fine rotation piece for them down the stretch. It’s just too bad he didn’t shoot the ball a bit better.

Legacy

Garrett Temple won’t leave much of a legacy with the Clippers. He only played in 32 games for the franchise, and had no signature moments or plays. He was, however, at least a small element of a very memorable, fun team, and will forever be remembered as a part of that. Additionally, Clippers’ fans will have the uniquely sour taste of Avery Bradley in their mouths for quite a while longer, and his departure was such a happy occasion that Temple will be thanked for that, if nothing else. Garrett was a solid, professional veteran for the Clippers who gave them some nice minutes on the court, and hopefully he has a good few years left in the NBA before his retirement.