Los Angeles Clippers: Grading Free Agent Acquisitions

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Here are individual grades for all off-season additions made by the Los Angeles Clippers in the summer of 2016, including the return of DeAndre Jordan and bringing on NBA champion and former Doc Rivers player Paul Pierce.

Josh Smith

Jul 21, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Josh Smith at press conference at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: B

What’s most interesting about Smith joining the Clippers for the veteran’s minimum is that he sees this situation as the best fit for him as a player, despite the stark similarities in what his role will be in LA and what it was for a fraction of last year in Houston, which makes one wonder if Smith knows something we don’t know or if Doc Rivers promised him a dollar and a dream in negotiations, a tactic Doc may have picked up from Mavs owner Marc Cuban this off-season.

Regardless, what the Clippers now have on their hands is an extremely talented and versatile forward who has the ability to improve the team in all facets on any given day, including three-point shooting and rim protection (think a poor man’s Draymond Green) — in 55 games as a Rocket, Smith averaged 12.0 points on 43% shooting (33% from three), 6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 blocks in a role that best suited his talents, a.k.a. opposite of what he was asked to do in Detroit as a small forward.

Like Lance Stephenson, factoring in how Smith in a Clippers jersey plays out is probably an exercise you want to skip out on. We’ve seen over the last five years the many faces of Josh Smith, the good, bad, and indifferent. Any of the three would be an upgrade to his predecessor, but it’s the good — and possibly indifferent depending on surrounding entities — that could push the Clippers to new heights, and for the veterans minimum, it’s completely worth it.