The Clippers are loaded, but is their summer rebuild over?


Jul 21, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers players Cole Aldrich (45), Paul Pierce (34) and Wesley Johnson (33) pose with jerseys at press conference at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

To say the Los Angeles Clippers have more depth than last season is an understatement. With a plethora of new talent (several who can play at multiple positions), Doc Rivers has assembled a complete roster with more versatility than the Clippers have ever had. As it stands, they have two spots available, although Doc has said that he’s happy with the roster staying at 13 deep for the time being.

Which, for Glen “Big Baby” Davis who still hasn’t been re-signed, isn’t great news.

Arash Markazi of ESPN reported the following, after talking to Doc Rivers at the Clippers’ press conference for their re-signings and new acquisitions yesterday:

As is made clear by Markazi, Doc is still interested in making another move. There’s obviously no need to leave a roster with two spare spaces, even if Doc wants to limit his roster to 14 so he has flexibility if need be during the season (in the eventuality that a trade may occur, for example).

However, with power forward Josh Smith — a highly athletic player who can break out in transition and shot 33 percent from three point range with the Houston Rockets, who can also guard multiple positions as well — the Clippers need for Davis is low. He averaged just 11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per 36 minutes this season, yet the real story of how he impacted this team can be told by one statistic: his +/- of -14.8.

He did little more than slow down the offense and hardly made up for his low scoring with a strong defensive presence or rebounding rate either. And with the young and extremely athletic defensive specialist Branden Dawson ready to try and carve out a small role, losing Davis wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Jul 21, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers players Branden Dawson (22), DeAndre Jordan (6) and Austin Rivers (25) pose at press conference at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

So, with the signings the Clippers have officially made so far, their depth chart should look something like this:

Point guard: Chris Paul, Austin Rivers

Shooting guard: J.J. Redick, Lance Stephenson/Jamal Crawford

Small forward: Paul Pierce, Wesley Johnson/Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson, Branden Dawson

Power forward: Blake Griffin, Josh Smith, Branden Dawson

Center: DeAndre Jordan, Cole Aldrich/Blake Griffin

Their new roster is far deeper and well rounded than Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have experienced since their reign in Lob City began, and their revamped bench will be instrumental in helping them make a deeper run into the playoffs.

If Doc Rivers does make another move, though (and it’s safe to say he’ll make at least one addition to reach 14 players), what kind of player should he target?

Ideally, the Clippers would benefit most from either a combo-guard who can offer more defense, passing and three point consistency than Crawford, or another tough big man to fill out the bottom of their rotation (to play just a few minutes on occasion, or in case either Jordan or Aldrich are injured).

Some possible backcourt targets: Norris Cole (if he’s interested in a role with fewer minutes), Luke Ridnour and Nate Wolters.

Some possible frontcourt targets: Kevin Seraphin and Reggie Evans.

May 8, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) rallies the crowd against the Houston Rockets during the second half in game three of the second round of the NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Jamal Crawford has carried the Clippers’ bench for the last three years, but he isn’t needed for that anymore with all their new signings (for analysis on the matter, read my recent column on Crawford here). Stephenson and Smith both have the ability to score in double digits off the bench on a consistent basis (providing their efficiency is reasonable enough), and with Rivers and Johnson onboard, too, Crawford’s value has diminished.

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The Clippers have various options at different positions to produce in their second unit now, meaning a Crawford trade is by no means out of the question. And after so many talks of the former Sixth Man of the Year being available, it wouldn’t be too surprising if his departure is something Doc Rivers is considering.

Equally, he may just be thinking of trying to add another free agent on a veteran’s minimum contract to complete the loaded team he’s already assembled. Regardless of what change may be coming, though, Doc has already proven himself as team president with the Clippers’ remarkable rebuild after having virtually no money to work with (for more discussion of his success, read here).

It’s been a great summer for the Clippers already, but it looks like Doc has another minor change in mind.

Next: If Jamal Crawford leaves the Clippers, will they suffer?