Tuesday, June 03, 2008

NBA Offseason Preview - Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers
Record: 23-59
2008-2009 Payroll (Source: HoopsHype.com): $53.3M

Draft Picks: #7, #35

Two seasons ago, the Clippers were a playoff team who actually won a series and took the Suns to a Game 7. Now, they are once again the Clippers we’ve come to know and forget. Despite the injury that sidelined Elton Brand for almost the entire season, the Clippers had two bright spots. First, Chris Kaman began earning the money from his lucrative contract and had a great season until he succumbed to injury. Second, though he needs to cut down on the turnovers, Al Thornton was a stud in the second half of the season and put up some sickly numbers.

Because of those two bright spots, the Clippers only need a point guard and potentially a shooting guard and All-Star power forward ... that's all.

Burning Questions: Will the LA Clippers be able to re-sign Elton Brand and Corey Maggette? If not, what will they be able to get in return? Will Shawn Livingston ever be healthy?

Perceived Needs: PG, SG/SF, Frontline depth

If I Were GM … I would select the best playmaker available with the #7 available. That means, if both OJ Mayo and Jerryd Bayless are taken, then drafting Eric Gordon would be preferred over a player with potentially higher upside, such as Anthony Randolph.

With the #35 pick, the Clippers can continue to address their thin backcourt if Maggette decides to bolt. In that range, they may able to draft the likes of Lester Hudson, Bill Walker (though skipping the recent draft camp may mean he has high interest in the late 1st round), Courtney Lee, Gary Forbes and Jamont Gordon. If he stays and the guard need (someone who can handle the ball) is addressed in the first round, then I would aim to draft an NBA-ready big who will be ready for battle. Thankfully, for the Clippers, there is a surprisingly good amount of such talent in the late 1st/early 2nd round (Joey Dorsey, DJ White, DeVon Hardin, Richard Hendrix).

In terms of current Clips, only eight players are under contract and that counts the two players (Brand, Maggette) with player options. Therefore, the Clippers simply need bodies.

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