Clippers Off-Season Target: F Chris Copeland


Who Is He?

NameChris Copeland

Position: Combo Forward

Experience: 3 years

Height: 6’9

Free Agent Type: Unrestricted

2014-15 Stats: 50 games, 6.4 points, 36% shooting, 31% from three, 2.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 7.4 PER

Free Agency Situation

Like Lavoy Allen (who we covered as a possible Clippers free agent target here), Copeland is one of many front court players that will be (or have the decision to become one) a free agent this summer — David West and Roy Hibbert hold player options.

With room to improve the position overall this could leave Copeland as one of several odd-men out, especially with the Pacers having a lottery selection in the upcoming draft, one many believe the team could spend on a big man as West and Hibbert could be preparing for their last year with the franchise.

Highlight of Choice

What The Internet is Saying

“He didn’t really get a fair shake,” said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, when asked to evaluate Copeland’s performance over the last two seasons. “We brought him in to be a backup spread-four (power forward) and a couple weeks after we got him we got a great backup power forward — a borderline starter power forward — in Luis Scola, who never misses a game. So his opportunities to perform weren’t what he expected when he signed here.”

On the Floor

Nov 10, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland (22) saves the ball from going out of bounds against the Utah Jazz at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Utah 97-86. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

In the first two seasons of Copeland’s career, he was known for two things, and doing them well might I add: 1) spacing the floor and 2) knocking down the long ball. In year 3 in the NBA and year 2 with the Indiana Pacers, Copeland was unable to get the long-ball going from three, shooting career-lows in field-goal percentage (.361) and three-point percentage (.311).

With that said, if Copeland isn’t knocking down threes he’s not worth a roster spot, and if on the roster, not worth rotation minutes.

If not attempting a three, Copeland rarely dabbles within the arch, having shot as many three-point attempts (167) as any other shot (143). When he did step inside the arch, he didn’t shoot well:

  • Restricted Area: 50.6%
  • In the Paint (Non-RA): 37.1%
  • Mid-Range: 25.8%

The real issue with Copeland is his inability to defend NBA quality wings, leaving him most likely to play stretch four throughout his NBA career. In two seasons with the Pacers, Indy posted a worse defensive rating with Copeland off the floor than on — in 2013-14, the Pacers posted a 109.7 defensive rating with Copeland on the floor; without, 95.8, one of the best marks in the league. Via ESPN’s real plus-minus stats, Copeland rated 66th in defensive RPM (-1.78).

Copeland is also a poor rebounder for his size/position, a negative, though playing alongside DeAndre Jordan could make this factor irrelevant, as well as a below average passer.

Chance of Signing

A high one if the Clippers are interested, though given the Clippers’ need to improve on the defensive end of the floor to match their league-best offense, Copeland’s lack of defense isn’t exactly what the team needs.

A one-dimensional player coming off a season where his one dimension was without impact won’t create a frenzy on the open market. But there’s a place for Copeland in the NBA if he can get his shot closer to the percentages seen in his first seasons as a pro player (42%) and with the Clippers in position to lose a handful of free agents, bringing Copeland in as a sporadic stretch four to play alongside DeAndre Jordan’s rim protection wouldn’t be the worst idea they’ve had over the last few years.

Next: Clippers' focus on the NBA Draft shows their evolving mindset