Byron Mullens? Thanks, But No Thanks LA

Nov 28, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) fights for a loose ball with Charlotte Bobcats center Byron Mullens (22) during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

When you’re name is a punchline to those who pay attention to the game of basketball, odds are you probably aren’t that great of a player. Yes, I’m talking about Byron Mullens as the Los Angeles Clippers have prepared themselves to offer the fifth year big man a two-year deal (Yahoo! Sports).

It’s unclear what the Clippers are trying to do here. Byron’s calling card is scoring. Last time I checked this team doesn’t need scoring. Sure, the critics have a valid point bringing up Doc River‘s offense during his time with the Boston Celtics. Boston’s offensive ratings have been below in the bottom fifteen since the 09-10 season. He won’t have that probelm with the Los Angeles Clippers, whom have finished 4th in offensive rating [according to Hoopdata] the past two seasons. Translation: having Chris Paul and not Rajon Rondo matters a lot.

And since last season the Clippers have added J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley to the fray of offense that was already in-house. Offense is not the problem. So why are they on the verge of adding Byron Mullens? For the love of James Naismith I have no idea. How can I say this in the nicest way possible? Well, Mullens isn’t a defensive player. With a player like DeAndre Jordan at the center position, you need a definitive defensive option behind DJ as ‘D’ is night and day. Byron definitely isn’t that.

The Charlotte Bobcats weren’t a good defensive team last season. I’m not pinning it all on Mullens as that team had a lot of wholes throughout their roster, but he definitely wasn’t helping. They finished the season with a defensive rating of 108.9 which was the worst in the NBA, but with Mullens on the floor that number jumped to 113.0 (106.6 off the floor).

And offensively speaking? He isn’t that good. Stretch big? He shot 31 percent from three last season which is a hash higher than the his career average. Overall? He shot 38 percent from the field. That’s worse than any center who played 25+ minutes/20+ games last season by a convincing five percent. He even shot a poor number from the free throw line. While he’s a stretch big he definitely isn’t a good one.

I could go on and on and on showing the numbers that disapprove of Byron Mullens, but in the end it’s about the culture the Clippers are planning to set coming forward. This move screams pre-Blake Griffin Clippers, the one we all grew to know and “love”. Apparently the old Clips are still shining through the new coat of skin it’s trying on. Remember that 2011 Clippers team that replaced Griffin and Jordan with Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans off the bench? That’s what this team needs now. Ryan Hollins isn’t the guy. Want a stretch big? Anthony Tolliver is available. Antawn Jamison is available. Re-sign Lamar Odom if you have to. They’re better options than Mullens. Go that route, but not this one.

Topics: Byron Mullens, Charlotte Bobcats, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA Free Agency, NBA Offseason, Yahoo! Sports

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  • Alfredo Rodriguez

    Believe me, I hate this move too, but right now, they have no choice. All the other available free agents bigs have their own warts. Antawn Jamison nullifies all defense because all he cares about is that 3-point shot, plus he curses teams everywhere he goes. I’ve read that Drew Gooden’s defense is as bad as Amar’e Stoudemire’s. Marcus Camby will be 40 years old next March and coming back from injury; it’ll be like getting Grant Hill out of retirement. Lamar Odom has mental issues, and feels that only the Lakers can bring him back to relevancy. Kenyon Martin hates the Clippers because he wasn’t treated fairly when they had bad coach Vinny Del Negro. And so on.

    The signing of Byron Mullens basically means that Doc Rivers realizes that none of the Clippers are good at defense individually or as a team. Their only hope then is to be insanely offensive and replicate the stylings of the 1993-95 Houston Rockets and 2004-10 Phoenix Suns when it was ran by Steve Nash. Their 3-pointers will have to be on point. After all, they did lose 3 games to the Golden State Warriors all in due to Stephon Curry and Klay Thompson’s hot shooting. The addition of Reddick and Dudley and their career high 3-point shooting will help soften the blow. It’ll be entirely up to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to accept defensive responsibilities… if they can. Otherwise, the only way the Clippers can get a true defensive big/center is by a trade. There is also a rumor that, depending on the results of this upcoming season, if the Clippers fail to advance deep into the playoffs because of Blake Griffin’s inability to accept the winning pressure that comes along with winning titles, he could be traded for Kevin Durant. And only Durant.

  • Clippersfan4471

    Not really understanding this move either? We need an enforcer type. Someone to bang with the big boys Amundson is about the only guy out there even close to that description. I think we’re really close to having a top team but we need that one piece. I’d Charles Oakley still playing?

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