LA Clippers Shooting Guard Obsession

7/11/12 in NBA   |   AJ_88   |   166 respect

The LA Clippers have been in the offseason news a lot lately, and for good reason. They continue to try and build a legitimate contender in a deep Western Conference that continues to get deeper. They need to impress Chris Paul enough to convince him to re-sign with the team after next season to a max contract deal. Adding the likes of Jamal Crawford and re-upping Chauncey Billups provided the Clippers with some depth at the shooting guard position as they did not re-sign Nick Young or Randy Foye. 

Trading Mo Williams for Lamar Odom has given the Clippers a dimension in their front court they sorely lacked last season as he can play both the small and power forward position efficiently.  However, they do lack any other big man coming off the bench. Ryan Gomes is the only current Clipper on the roster who has any substantial game-time experience that is taller than 6'6''.  Instead of looking into the free agent and trade market for big-man help, they have continued to search for more help on the wing.

Apr 18, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA;  New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Marco Belinelli (8) shoots the ball during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum.  Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRECrawford stands at 6'5''. Billups is a generous 6'3''. Coach Vinny Del Negro often went with a three-guard line-up last season and it seems as though he will continue to do so in his final year of his contract. If he believes it will land him a long-term deal with the Clippers, then who's to say that it won't work? He can't be that dimwitted can he? He wouldn't sacrifice his long-term job security unless he was confident in his style of coaching. 

It has been rumored that the Clippers are now interested in trading Gomes for 6'5'' shooting guard, Marco Belinelli, only adding to their arsenal of shooters who can't defend. With a log-jam at the two-spot, the Clippers may not have enough game-time to go around.  Back-up point guard, Eric Bledsoe performed very well in the postseason last year and figures to be the primary backup for Chris Paul this year as well. But with three shooting guards on the roster, the Clippers will most likely play with a three-guard lineup more often than not. 

Caron Butler will be the only small forward on the roster while Odom will most likely back up Blake Griffin at the four in order for the second unit to spread the floor for their shooters. 

Can the Clippers seriously contend with a lineup that features shooters who lack the ability to defend? Will Del Negro be able to motivate his team to defend? Small-ball does not usually give a team an opportunity to contend as they lack the ability to match up defensively. The Clippers have moves to make if they intend on competing with the upper echelon for years to come. Vinny's seat may just be getting warmer, but he has no one to blame but himself as he is part of the three-headed monster making personnel decisions in the absence of a true GM. 
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