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Clippers Retrospective: Luc Mbah A Moute’s Season of Unfortunate Events

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If “yikes” was a season.

Orlando Magic v LA Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Stats

Expectations:

In late August of last year, Clips Nation contributors put together a roundtable grading the Luc Mbah A Moute signing. The collective opinion was very positive, with the lowest grade being a “B+.” Luc was coming off of a nice year with the Rockets, Clippers Nation was excited to have a fan favorite back, and we felt that his improved shooting and already great perimeter defense would help support Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari, who we expected to miss several games based on his injury history.

Although there was a quiet agreement that celebrating the signing of a 32 year old forward was an acknowledgment of the fact that the Clippers wouldn’t be a true threat in the West, it felt like the Luc signing fit within the greater Clippers ethos of bringing in high quality guys who would play the “Clipper” way — gritty, relentless, and understated. The deal also made economic sense, in that the Clippers were only paying $4.3 million and had avoided making a long-term commitment. It made the Clippers better on and off the court.

To that end, an underrated element of Luc’s signing that provided an extra level of excitement was his reputation around the league with African players. As Clips Nation and others have noted before, he helped get guys like Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam settled in the league — the beginnings of a “God father”-like stature that could perhaps help the Clippers build a bridge to African prospects in years to come.

Reality:

This section ought to be blank, frankly. And, if we were forced to measure how Luc’s “season” went, it wouldn’t necessarily be fair to say he didn’t meet expectations because it just never happened in the first place. As the stats lay out very clearly above, Luc didn’t play enough to make more than the slightest of impressions on the Clippers’ season.

One frustrating thing about the Luc saga was how much we were teased with his return. There were tweets and off-the-record comments suggesting that he was making progress and was ultimately building towards a late-season return to help the Clippers solidify their spot in the playoffs. This could, I guess, count as a failure to meet the “professionalism” standard we expected from Luc, but it’s hard to blame him. I’m sure he was acting in good faith and was working hard to get back on the court. It just didn’t happen.

Legacy:

Luc’s “favorite son” status within Clippers Nation took a big hit last season. Even though we know well what it’s like to have players battling through injuries, Luc’s no-show season left a bad taste in fans’ mouths, who now might be more likely to remember this lost year than his two seasons as a good role player in the latter years of Lob City.

We wish Luc the best and hope he can end his career on a good note, but we’ve moved on.