Clippers: 3 bench players who should not be traded

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Nov 27, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (12) dunks the basketball against New Orleans Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham (44), forward Luke Babbitt (8), and forward Alonzo Gee (15) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Luc Mbah a Moute’s defense is too important to let go

Thankfully for the Clippers, Doc Rivers has confirmed that Luc Mbah a Moute should be safe for the reason of the season. His defense staying put in L.A. is highly beneficial to the team, and while it’s practically been confirmed he’s staying, he’s possibly the most underrated player added this summer and needs to be recognized as someone who shouldn’t be traded.

As Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times has reported, though, Doc put that concern to rest when asked if Mbah a Moute will be with the Clippers for the rest of the season:

"“I would say, yeah, that’s safe,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. That means there won’t be any drama on Jan. 10, when Mbah a Moute’s $1.3-million contract for this season officially becomes guaranteed. “It’s great, especially given the circumstances of how I got here,” said Mbah a Moute, whose contract was voided by the Kings over a failed physical related to concerns about his right shoulder. “It’s good to know that you’re appreciated in some way.”"

Until Doc made this recent comment, it has still become apparent over the last few weeks that Mbah a Moute shouldn’t be going anywhere. He raises the strength of the Clippers’ defense whenever he’s on the floor, and brings the kind of energy, physicality, and versatility to guard multiple positions that can make a serious difference at that end of the floor.

Yes, he’s very limited offensively and he’s not a good shooter, but for defense alone, he’s a key player.

One gem that Bolch highlighted in his report on Luc is that prior to Monday, December 14, only LeBron James allowed fewer points per defensive possession. That’s some pretty remarkable company for someone who was nearly without a team this summer to be in:

"Mbah a Moute was allowing .562 points per defensive possession before Monday, trailing only Cleveland’s LeBron James (.542) among players who had logged at least 50 defensive possessions."

It says a lot about the impact Mbah a Moute has had since his increase in minutes and placement into the starting lineup. In fact, since joining the starters on November 27, the Clippers have only allowed 96.4 points per game. Seeing as they allowed 103.6 points over the 15 games before Mbah a Moute entered the starting lineup, it’s clear that he’s been a factor.

Of course, it’s been a total team effort as others have stepped up too, while the minutes of poor defenders like Jamal Crawford and Paul Pierce being limited helps, but Luc still has a lot to offer defensively.

So, player performance aside, what should the Clippers actually do?

Next: What should the Clippers do?