Luc Mbah a Moute could fit perfectly with Clippers


For the Los Angeles Clippers, they are without question in win now mode. In Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the team boasts two All-Stars. Centre DeAndre Jordan stuck around after flirting with the Dallas Mavericks, and in theory he rounds out a hugely impressive big three for this team. Beyond that, the clutch game of Paul Pierce will be vital come the playoffs, especially given what he did with the Washington Wizards last season.

Josh Smith turned his faltering career around in Houston with the Rockets last year, while anything the team can get out of Lance Stephenson will be a bonus. So really then, the signing of Luc Mbah a Moute to a non-guaranteed contract ahead of the new season should hardly register when it comes to talking about the Clippers. The reality, though, is that a pick up like this could be sneaky good for a team that has had some unlucky breaks over the course of the last few seasons.

Look, there’s no way around it, Mbah a Moute is not the kind of signing that inspires. Most fans will not really care if he sticks with this team or not, and it’s understandable that they would think in this way. In his seven seasons in the league to date, the forward has never averaged over 10 points per game, and some of his advanced numbers and +/- scores do not make for pretty reading. There’s a lot of negative numbers in there.

But if you come at it from a different angle, perhaps this is actually the perfect potential complimentary signing for this team. At 29 years of age, Mbah a Moute knows how the league works and how to fit in. It’s unclear if he’s a good locker room guy, but what we do know from the lack of bad press associated with him is that he’s not a bad person to have in there either. Mbah a Moute knows his role, and on a Clippers team with real stars and characters, that’s important.

Dec 10, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (12) steals the ball away from Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) in the first quarter of their game at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Not everybody can be the main attraction here, and looking at the Clippers it’s unclear if so many big names will be able to mesh together. Which is why you bring somebody like Mbah a Moute in. Unassuming, a guy who knows he’s going to come off the bench and average (at most) 10 minutes a night. Defensively, he’s above average as well, which leads nicely into the next plus point of having him on this particular team.

The Clippers are loaded with guys who can score the basketball, and their offense is going to be fun to watch next season with all the different options they’ve got on their team. Mbah a Moute, while not a lockdown defender by any means, can work harder on that end so others don’t have to. If the Clippers are holding onto a lead, Mbah a Moute is not a bad player to have on the bench to try and plug a hole.

He’s also played for some terrible teams, most notably the Philadelphia 76ers last year. He’s made the playoffs on only two occasions in his career, both times with the Milwaukee Bucks. So the chance to possibly join a genuine contender for really the first time in his career is surely something he will relish. He’ll know he’s here to be a defensive presence and little else, although he did shoot 30 percent from three point range last season. A bad number, sure, but he wasn’t exactly lining up next to world beaters who required a double team in Philly.

Finally, during the regular season, Mbah a Moute can help take the load off Pierce. The Truth will surely be saved mostly for the tail end of the season and what the team hope will be a deep playoff run. The last thing they would want to see is a player like Pierce or Smith go down in a blowout road win away to somebody like the Charlotte Hornets in December. So, for road trips to the East or softer parts in the schedule, a more defensive forward like Mbah a Moute could be just what this team needs.

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Again, this is not the kind of player for Clippers fans to get excited about, but it is these kinds of players that every championship team needs in order to win. Taking last year’s Golden State Warriors as an example, somebody like Leandro Barbosa would have been considered a bit of an afterthought. But he provided some big moments in the playoffs and was a testament to how deep that roster went. Mbah a Moute isn’t even on his level as a player, but if he can stay with this team and provide big defensive moments in close games, his job here will be done.

So, in that way, it’s a sneaky good move for the Clippers. They got a guy who has a lot of experience in the league, but will know his role on this team. He’s not great at any one particular area of the game, but he works hard and can stay in front of his man. In other words, he’s the type of player contending teams need to win, and that maybe the Clippers haven’t had in the past. Taking the regular season minutes burden off older players is a plus as well. When you look at it that way, maybe this is a signing fans should be taking more notice of.

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