NBA Free Agency 2014: Finding Value at Power Forward


NBA Free Agency 2014–With Spencer Hawes having agreed to a deal by way of the full mid-level exception and Jordan Farmar by way of bi-annual exception (this isn’t definite, but things seem likely to remain this way), the Clippers are pinching pennies through the remainder of free agency. But with holes in the roster, mainly at small forward and power forward, the Los Angeles will be forced to find value for cheap.

Today we take a look at all the free agent power forwards who would be acquired for the veterans minimum. With Hawes, there is no need for a high usage power forward. They need someone who can come in and play close to 10 minutes a night–possibly more if Blake Griffin is dealing with foul trouble–can defend, clean the glass, and do all tabbed as “the little things”.

After digging through the lower level power forwards available, we rounded up four forwards who the Clippers could use on a minimum deal:

Elton Brand

2013-14 Stats: 73 games played, 5.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 14.0 PER

Depending on how Brand feels about the organization he once played for, a return could be in order. Signed to play behind Al Horford and Paul Millsap in Atlanta, Brand proved he still had a lot left in the tank as a reserve after a so-so year with the Dallas Mavericks.

What makes Brand an attractive asset is his ability to play alongside both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. With Jordan, Brand’s ability to spread the floor comes in handy, enabling the Clippers to contain some resemblance of floor-spacing when the two are on the floor together. Per the NBA Stats, Brand shot 49.4% on catch-and-shoot 2-pointers (at least 10 feet out). The attempts didn’t come in a high volume–only 2.2 per game–but in a reserve role Brand’s attempts would remain in that range. Brand could also be a pick-and-roll fixture as he shot 50% in that category per Synergy.

Brand won’t come easy as he’s drawn interest early in free agency.

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Kenyon Martin

2013-14 Stats: 32 games played, 4.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 12.2 PER

Since Kenyon Martin left , the Clippers have failed to find an identity similar to his. Far from his best playing days, Martin–and Reggie Evans–added an edge to this team that played a huge role against the Memphis Grizzlies in the ’12 playoffs. Fast forward two years, and the two parties could revisit what once was.

Health permitting (Martin missed every game post-February 1st due to a ankle injury), Martin would become the teams best big-man pick and roll defender. With Hawes, you need someone on the floor to cover for what will be a bundle of miscues. Martin’s aged, so this isn’t the guy who was once an All-Defense talent. But Martin still possess the knowledge and talent to lead the reserve unit on that end.

And after Boris Diaw‘s passing clinic in the NBA Finals, Martin’s ability to pass the ball should be an extra draw. Is he a Diaw-level passer? No, but he knows when to move the ball and how to play within the flow of the offense. Since the 2000 NBA Draft, Martin has posted an assist percent > 10 eight times. The forwards ahead of him? Tim Duncan & Kevin Garnett (14), Pau Gasol & Dirk Nowitzki, & Lamar Odom (13), Carlos Boozer (11) Josh Smith (10), Zach Randolph, David West, and NeNe (9).

The New York Post reported the Knicks have discussed re-signing Martin, but if the Clippers can get ahold of him, he’d be a nice fit in the rotation.

Jeff Adrien

2013-14 Stats: 53 games played, 6.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 17.4 PER

Injury forced Jeff Adrien out of the rotation in Charlotte last season and mediocrity in Milwaukee made the undersized power forward a forgotten name.

Defensively Adrien is solid. In Charlotte, the Hornets posted a defensive rating of 96.8 when Adrien was on the floor; 101.6 when off. The sample size is small–Adrien only played 271 minutes with the Hornets–but in the previous season with the Hornets, the defensive rating improved by 8 points when Adrien stepped on the floor.

And while that’s a plus, Adrien’s true impact comes on the boards. Despite his height, Adrien has proved to be one of the best rebounders in the NBA these last two seasons. With Adrien on the floor, the Bobcats improved their offensive rebound percentage by nearly 10 points (19.8% to 27.2%). With the Bucks, both the offensive rebound percentage (27.4% to 30.9%) and defensive rebound percentage (69.3% to 73.7%) increased.

Considering the Clippers finished 14th in rebounding, Adrien would be a healthy addition.

Ekpe Udoh

2013-14 Stats: 42 games played, 3.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 7.6 PER

Drafted 6th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, Udoh has failed to live up to any expectations placed upon that selection. Instead he’s floated in and out of lineups between the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks, attempting to find his way in the process. Now an unrestricted free agent coming off a season where injury forced him to miss 40 games, he may find himself on a contender for the veterans minimum.

Udoh has never been much of a scorer–shooting 44 percent throughout his four-year career, a number that’s awfully low for a post player–but the Clippers won’t need him to provide offense. At 6’10 he’d provide athleticism and energy off the bench when the Clippers spell Blake Griffin, and would most certainly be a step up from Glen Davis in terms of rim protection. Last season, Udoh blocked 2 shots per-36 minutes and posted a Block Percentage of 4.4%, a number that would’ve been third on the Clippers in 2013-14 behind DeAndre Jordan and Ryan Hollins. According to NBA’s Player Tracking system, opponents shot 46.3% at the rim on 5.1 attempts per game with Udoh protecting the rim.

Speaking of Ryan Hollins, that’s Udoh’s worst-case scenario for Los Angeles… but unlike Hollins who is approaching the tender age of 30, Udoh’s entering his prime at age 27. Under Doc Rivers, the soon-to-be fifth year forward could finally find his way as a NBA player.