I have been calling the Los Angeles Clippers the deepest team in the NBA since Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford and Grant Hill inked contracts. If the Clippers sign Matt Barnes, the Clippers will be one of the deepest teams the NBA has ever seen.
Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick , on SI.com, reports the nine-year NBA player and LA are close to making a deal which will put Barnes on the Clippers depth chart behind Caron Butler and Grant Hill at the small forward position Depending on Hill’s health — he will be 40-years-old by time the 2012-13 season begins — Barnes could even be second.
Regardless of where he is on the depth chart, there is a great possibility he could be on the “other team” in LA. Clipper fans should be happy if it becomes a reality.
Yes, I know Barnes struggled last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 7.8 points per game. On the other hand, he grabbed 5.5 rebounds per game on a team with Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace. All four of these guys are solid rebounders for their position and Barnes was still able to have a considerable contribution.
Not only was he rebounding, he also averaged .8 blocks, two assists and .6 steals per game compared to 1.16 steals a game. In my mathematics, Barnes did more good on the court than he did bad.
Personally, I think he got hammered with criticism because of the situation he was in on the Lakers. World Peace had a horrible season, which put Barnes in a position he isn’t made for.
Barnes isn’t a guy who is going to score 15 points a game and be a go-to-guy behind a franchises superstars or stars. Instead, Barnes is a role player who brings toughness on defense, makes the extra pass in an offensive set for an easy bucket for his teammates and a desire to grab rebounds. He was asked to do too much for his skill set to succeed with the Lakers.
However, this is exactly the kind of guy the Clippers need this season since they already have guys who are great at what they do. Plus, filing in for Butler and Hill is an easier job than replacing World Peace since the Clippers duo will do more when they’re on the court.
LA has guys who will score points: Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, Crawford and Odom.
The Clippers have guys who will put up solid assist numbers: Paul, Billups and Eric Bledsoe.
What the Lakers don’t have is a wing player who can guard some of the NBA’s best small forwards or shooting guards in the league and who will grab rebounds.
Barnes is a better rebounder than Hill and Butler, and is more athletic to run the floor in Lob City and stick with the Kevin Durants and LeBron James’ of the world. Will he always shut them down, no, no one will, but he will contend and give his team a chance to minimize their activity as much as anyone can.
Honestly, I’d be cool with him averaging four points a game next season if he produced defensively. Like I said before, there is offensive fire power all over the court. Not everyone needs to score double-digits for the Clippers to win.
This role, less scoring-more defense, is the role Barnes thrived in with the Orlando Magic and the Phoenix Suns. I don’t see any reason why he can’t be a great role player for the Clippers this season with what the franchise will ask him to do.
Topics: Andrew Bynum, Blake Griffin, Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, Eric Bledsoe, Grant Hill, Jamal Crawford, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Lebron James, Los Angeles Clippers, Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace, NBA, Pau Gasol