Analyst grossly misses mark suggesting veteran big would be ideal Clippers target

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Clippers
New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Clippers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

Even the mainstream media is promoting the narrative that the Clippers target talented players past the peak of their powers.

The pursuit of hoisting a championship can blind an organization. Before purchasing the club, Steve Balmer was a professional winner. There's no way to fake a Harvard degree or to become a driving force in one of America's premier companies. He is familiar with elevating a brand, but his basketball endeavors have been lackluster.

This conundrum goes beyond mortgaging the entire future to pair two injury-riddled wings together because almost every team in the league would have done the same if given a chance. Acting as a basketball rehabilitation center for superstars with heavy baggage at the twilight of their careers is far more concerning.

James Harden and Russell Westbrook had moments of brilliance during their stints in Los Angeles, but that was easy to foresee. Since leaving Houston, the former is known for being a shifty playmaker for half the season before the light turns off and he craters. Westbrook has a relentless fire that works on the second night of a back-to-back against the Hornets but fails to work consistently with his inability to space the floor.

The squad desperately needs a re-set, but with critical contracts set to expire, it's tough to gauge how much flexibility the franchise will have this summer. They have to make do with what they have if there are even the slimmest title aspirations. Bleacher Report's Greg Swartz made his peculiar case for why veteran big Jonas Valanciunas should be the Clippers' dream target this summer.

"With a lot of guards and wings already on the roster, the Clippers could look into some depth at center instead," Swartz said. "Jonas Valančiūnas and Ivica Zubac averaged a combined 49.9 minutes per game this past season, so staggering both wouldn't result in a major dip in either one's role. Valančiūnas also has some three-point shooting ability, which Zubac doesn't offer with only one career made three."

The Clippers should steer clear of Jonas Valanciunas

Valanciunas has been a serviceable center in the NBA for over a decade. He's a throwback who uses a wide array of post moves to challenge his opponents on the low block. His massive frame can punish weaker defenders as he bullies his way to the cup. The baby hook is a big part of his game, as he can go over either shoulder. Unlike traditional European bigs, he isn't a stellar passer, but he is still a moderate roll threat off a viable playmaker.

What limits his ceiling is that he's a horrendous defender. If Valanciunas gets pulled away from the basket, he's immediately cooked and offers no resistance. His lack of athleticism hurts his rotations, and it is tough to watch him consistently look a few steps behind. He's not a cone, but he isn't too far off.

The idea that he can space the floor is negated by the fact that he shot 30% from deep this past season. He can hit the occasional jumper, but that's not where he excels. He's not enough of a threat outside the paint for others to take him seriously. 

The Clippers need more consistent scoring talent. Valanciunas would be a fine platoon option next to Ivica Zubac, but there's money to be spent elsewhere. Getting a talented point guard to run a coherent offense should be Lawrence Franks's top priority, not a 32-year-old center who doesn't fit the modern game.