If you appreciate the game of basketball, it’s easy to enjoy watching the Los Angeles Clippers. Their offense has been one of the best in franchise history. The team shares the ball, makes their 3-pointers like there’s no tomorrow and just finds ways to score—whether that’s through center Ivica Zubac's cleanup boards, Luke Kennard's microwave scoring, Terrence Mann’s consistency and, of course, their top two weapons in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
This Clippers team is offensively gifted and is on another level this season.
If you want to translate this into statistics, then here’s how to back their offensive power up: the Clippers have the best offense (119.8) and sixth-best defense since the All-Star break. They’ve played the fourth-hardest schedule this season, yet they’re 32-16 and poised to be the best offensive team in history—converting 40 percent of their 3-point shots and 80 percent on free throws. It’s safe to say that Ty Lue and his coaching staff have done wonders for this team, at least for now.
The Clippers' culture just seems more genuine. Leonard and George are consistently showing up while players like Mann, Kennard (at least after the All-Star break), Nicolas Batum, Zubac and the rest have bought into the system. While this could be significant and mean that they’re trending in the right direction, they still have a lot to prove.
For what it's worth, they can do it without necessarily adding to their roster.
No, they don’t need a center since Zubac, Ibaka and sometimes even Marcus Morris can keep that position occupied. Brooklyn’s LaMarcus Aldridge or San Antonio’s Gorgui Dieng could’ve helped them, but both players have decided to go elsewhere. At this point, if the Clippers really have to, they might want to look for someone who’s willing to take a lesser role and compete for a championship. Normally, these candidates are veterans who have yet to experience playing deep into the playoffs.
Ultimately, the Clippers don’t necessarily have to acquire someone from the buyout market. That’s the reason why this story started out with how impressive their system and play has been. At this point, what they need is to constantly sharpen their chemistry together (on and off the floor), fix their late game issues (could be why they added Rajon Rondo), buy and trust into their system as well as develop their mental strength—so when hard times hit during the playoffs, they don’t fold once again.
3 Best Options for the Clippers' Open Roster Spots
The Clippers have two open roster spots, so it’s going to be interesting to see who the Clippers target in the next few weeks.
Who can they at least observe in the meantime? There are three attractive players for them at the moment:
1. Otto Porter Jr
Orlando Magic forward Otto Porter Jr. currently finds himself in a rebuilding team, hence why his talents could be going to waste. The Magic clearly are not in contention to win, which won’t help Porter’s case for his new contract as well. He’s a 3-and-D type of player that can boost the Clippers’ chances right now. He can score, rebound and be someone you can throw to the opposing wing player.
Porter can contribute, especially when Leonard and George have off nights.
2. Kelly Olynk
Kelly Olynk is now with the Houston Rockets, who are obviously recovering from the James Harden trade saga. The Rockets are not in the winning stage right now and should build around Christian Wood, who has been impressive this season prior to injury.
While he may struggle on defense, Olynk can certainly stretch the floor for the Clippers, add to their already so impressive 3-point shooting and just be a threat on the offensive end. Olynk also has made deep runs into the playoffs and his experience might help the Clips down the road.
3. Avery Bradley
Similar to Olynk, Avery Bradley was traded to the Rockets in the Victor Oladipo deal. Although he has been sidelined due to injury, Bradley could be useful for a championship contender right now given where he is in his career. He’s a perimeter defender and is someone who can get the Clippers a 3-pointer or two. Bradley is a veteran who could be motivated to win a title right now given what he has been through in his career. A reunion with the Clippers could be the perfect story for him.
To fill that 14th roster spot, the three choices the Clippers have is: first, they can sign someone in the buyout market for the rest of the season. Second, they convert sniper Amir Coffey’s two-way contract into a full contract so he can take the last final spot. Or lastly, they can opt to sign someone to a 10-day contract. Whatever it is they decide to do, it’s not necessarily a need for them at this point—it’s more or less just a procedural requirement.