For the Los Angeles Clippers, things were looking very bleak less than a week ago. The team had agreed to trade point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets, and star Blake Griffin had opted out of his contract. Essentially, all that was left for the Clippers to build on was DeAndre Jordan and the pieces they had acquired in the deal for Paul.
Now, things at least look somewhat better for the Clippers. As Shams Charania of The Vertical reported, Griffin and the Clippers agreed to a five-year, $173 million deal this past week.
The deal with Griffin almost single-handedly helps the Clippers remain as a playoff team, but let’s take a look at the rest of their roster ahead of the 2017-18 season.
C: DeAndre Jordan, Montrezl Harrell, Diamond Stone
PF: Blake Griffin, Kyle Wiltjer, Brice Johnson
SF: Wesley Johnson, Sam Dekker
SG: Lou Williams, Jamal Crawford, Sindarius Thornwell, DeAndre Liggins
PG: Patrick Beverley, Austin Rivers, Jawun Evans
Free Agents: Raymond Felton, Marreese Speights, Brandon Bass, Alan Anderson, Luc Mbah a Moute, Darrun Hilliard
Overall, the Clippers don’t look all that bad on paper, aside from some question marks at small forward. If Dekker can prove to be the player he’s shown flashes of at times during his career, then they could be sitting with a solid roster. It’s easy to forget that when given extended run at times, Dekker showed the ability to excel. In a game back on January 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies, he tallied 30 points with five rebounds.
An interesting, yet overlooked situation here by many is the fact that the Philadelphia 76ers managed to sign J.J. Redick away from the Clippers this offseason. Redick would have likely remained as the starter over Lou Williams, who’s proven to be an exceptional sixth man. But, the Clippers opting to save the money and stick with the talent they have at shooting guard does still make sense.
Regardless of how you look at it, the Clippers seem to still be in the mix for a 2017-18 playoff spot, even in a completely loaded Western Conference. Griffin alone is a key argument for that, but it’s unlikely that the Clippers are able to land anywhere near the No. 4 seed in the West like they did this past year.
Also, don’t be incredibly surprised to see the Clippers attempt to make another move or two and add some depth at the forward positions, as there are quite a few big-name forwards who are still on the market.