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 in the bottom fifteen since the 09-10 season. He won’t have that probem 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 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 holes 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 and20+ 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.