Clippers: Serge Ibaka return makes Center rotation stronger than it seems

Serge Ibaka, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Serge Ibaka, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

Serge Ibaka returned for the LA Clippers on Sunday, and that solidifies a very strong big man rotation for the Clips.

Ibaka didn’t perform all that well on Sunday, but he didn’t have all that many opportunities to. He played just eight minutes, in a few short bursts for the team. In that time, he looked a bit rusty, going 0-3 with five personal fouls.

That being said, he did record a block, which truly is par for the course with Ibaka. Adding him is going to help the Clippers’ rim protection very much.

The best part, however, is that the Clippers were actually already looking pretty good at center this season. Now, we have depth.

Coming into the season the LA Clippers’ weakness was supposed to be at center.

The LA Clippers got themselves a find at point guard in Reggie Jackson this past postseason, and also added Eric Bledsoe. Their situation on the wings was also looking great with the likes of Paul George, Nicolas Batum, Terance Mann, and Marcus Morris Sr. at the position. Center was supposed to be a challenge with Ibaka on the injury report.

Ivica Zubac is already off to a good start, averaging a career-high in points per game (9.4), and collecting over seven boards a game despite playing just 23.8 minutes per game. He’s scored in double-digit figures for three straight games now and has recorded back-to-back double-doubles.

Also, Isaiah Hartenstein has done a good job as the backup center so far with LA, proving that he was indeed a good signing for this team in the offseason. He’s averaging career-highs in both points per game (6.1) and rebounds per game (5.3).

Adding one of the most reliable shot-blockers in basketball to this group, who was also the second-best rebounder for the Clippers last year behind Zubac, is massive.

Next. How PG can enter the MVP race. dark

He didn’t have much of a chance to show it over the weekend, but as Ibaka gets more and more comfortable and up to basketball speed, he’s going to have a giant impact this season.