Insider Request: Remaining Holes for Contenders

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seanrooks
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Can anyone with Insider post this? Might not even mention the Clips but I'm still curious even if it doesn't.

BoomRizzle
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The daily stream of transactions has slowed to a trickle, and now that Tuesday's amnesty deadline has passed, the league will change only in small increments between now and the beginning of training camp. However, there are a number of roster spots across the league still open, and several potential playoff teams still have holes to fill.

It's unlikely that any remaining moves will grab headlines, but in a league that seems to be sorted into a handful of tight groupings, you never know which acquisition will make a difference when it comes to seeding the clubs in April. Let's look at some roster shortcomings that still need to be addressed for some potential contenders.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Need: Veteran bench help

The Thunder have been notably quiet this summer, showing up in the transaction news only when Kevin Martin was signed away by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Oklahoma City remains a title contender by virtue of the powerhouse value at the top of the roster, but the reserve unit is largely unproven. Among the players occupying reserve perimeter positions on the depth chart, only Reggie Jackson and DeAndre Liggins have even two years of experience. Oklahoma City is no doubt high on Jackson after his performance in the postseason, and he is the only second-unit player who projects better than replacement level.

The key to the group is Jeremy Lamb, who inherits the off-the-bench scoring role that's been held by James Harden and Martin. Those are tough acts to follow for a player who hasn't seen much regular-season action in the NBA, and it's an awfully big role to play. Lamb flashed explosive scoring ability during the Orlando Summer League, but that's summer league. Overall, I have the Thunder second unit at just 0.3 WARP and the overall reserve contingent ranked 29th in the league. That might be underrating the bunch, but there is no doubt that the bench is longer on potential than track record.

This could depress Oklahoma City's regular-season win total, which could mean a plummeting seed in what figures to be a four- or five-team race for the home-court slots in the Western Conference. The Thunder have a tough financial picture, but I'd feel a lot better about the team if a proven bench scorer could be brought in, with San Antonio Spurs restricted free agent Gary Neal an example of one player who makes sense.

New York Knicks

Need: Backup center

The Knicks also need to replace some of their lost 3-point shooting from last season, but I see the backup center position as the biggest void on the New York roster. The Knicks ranked last in the league in shot blocking last season and are forecasted to finish 23rd in defensive efficiency. New York needs Tyson Chandler to stay healthy and play more like the 2011-12 Defensive Player of the Year than the version we saw last season. However, while most people are focused on how Mike Woodson is going to fit together Carmelo Anthony, Amar Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani on the offensive end, I'm wondering who is going to protect the rim, especially when Chandler is out of the game.

It seems likely that Bargnani and Stoudemire are going to see a lot of minutes at the 5, so the Knicks probably won't have a big-minute role to offer available big men like Kenyon Martin, Samuel Dalembert and Greg Oden. There also are teams such as Dallas that are after those kinds of players and can offer more than the veteran minimum to which the Knicks are limited. Since the Knicks don't exactly look like a juggernaut when it comes to perimeter defense -- even after signing Metta World Peace -- this has to be the No. 1 remaining item on the team's to-do list.

Chicago Bulls

Need: Bench scorer

The Bulls' roster has been carefully constructed to complement Derrick Rose on offense and perform at a high level on defense. Rose can't be on the floor all the time, though, and things can bog down without his ability to open up spaces for his teammates and bail out his team on stagnant possessions. Tom Thibodeau's offense is highly structured, but it also requires a certain amount of improvisational ability from its point guards, which is why Nate Robinson played such a key role during Rose's absence in 2012-13. The already-tepid Chicago offense was 2.7 points worse per 100 possessions last season with Robinson off the floor. Even before last season, John Lucas III was a key player off the bench for many of these same reasons. Right now, the Chicago bench features steady veteran Kirk Hinrich and crafty playmaker and spot-up shooter Mike Dunleavy Jr.

These players are again more suited to complementing Rose-led lineups than carrying the water themselves. Marquis Teague looks improved, but his shot-making is not nearly where it needs to be for him to occupy a Robinson-like role. Even if the Bulls aren't serious about giving a shot to summer league invitee Andrew Goudelock, they need someone like him. Robinson is an unrestricted free agent, and while it isn't expected that he'll return to Chicago, we're well into free agency at this point and it doesn't sound like Robinson is close to landing with a team; the Bulls should keep in touch.

If that ship has sailed, D.J. Augustin is another possibility. Another longshot candidate who might be willing to sign on the cheap in an effort to win is Mo Williams.

Houston Rockets

Need: Ball handler

This is a small need for what looks like a pretty complete roster. I have the Rockets projected to finish 29th in turnover rate, and all three of the primary ball handlers -- Harden, Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley -- are potentially high-turnover players. It's possible that rookie Isaiah Canaan can help with this. It's also possible that if Houston takes the throttle off its pace with Dwight Howard on board that turnovers will decrease. Still, a combo guard-type who can serve as an occasional caretaker when things get ragged, defend and knock down open 3s might put the finishing touches on the roster.

A younger version of Derek Fisher would be perfect, but only the current version is available. I like the fit of Daniel Gibson, who isn't a pure point guard, but that shouldn't be a problem with this group.

Los Angeles Clippers

Need: Veteran big man

The Clippers have just three big men on their stacked roster, not including rookie Brandon Davies. Davies has talent, but he's not ready to play a big role on a contending team. Even if he was, it's not likely that rookie-averse coach Doc Rivers would use him anyway. As constituted, Los Angeles looks weak on the defensive glass. Rivers is a stickler for that category, so perhaps the improvement will come from within. We think of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin flying through the air to slam home missed shots on the offensive end but forget that sometimes they look to leak out on the other end and fail to block out. A veteran rebounding specialist would be good complement to the current roster.

The Clippers have been rumored to be in touch with Antawn Jamison, but that's not going to cut it. Former Clipper Lamar Odom would be fine, as would former Clipper Kenyon Martin. Here's a thought: ex-Bobcat Byron Mullens. Getting cut loose by Charlotte isn't the crown jewel of any NBA player's rsum, but Mullens is the kind of player who can fit with a good team. He's a solid defensive rebounder and has enhanced value as a 7-foot-1 player with good face-up shooting ability. That's a perfect fit for what the Clippers have already on this roster.

clipperAndrew
Clipper All-Star
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votes: 10

I agree... I think Mullens would be great. He had some really good games last season.

dom1
Clipper 6th Man
Posts: 135
votes: 2

Mullens is a perfect fit for us...He is 7ft, can play the 4 or 5, can shoot & grab boards and also is a decent rebounder..Were not asking him to start but to come off the bench with those abilities is a steal right now for the vet min

Clippersfan86
CTB MVP Champion
Posts: 15216
votes: 89

I'd take Mullens but doubt he takes minimum.

uncool
Clipper Starter
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votes: 5

Mullens... Get 'er done Doc!

Keatonsays
Clipper Starter
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votes: 6

I'd still rather have Camby and Jamison.

pageC4
CTB MVP X1
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Just looked at his numbers...very solid for a backup pf

pageC4
CTB MVP X1
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worth a shot maybe he may value contention over cash

jarca
CTB MVP X2
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votes: 35

Kmart and odom

Rudy3203
Clipper D-League Pickup
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votes: 0

He really is a solid offensive rebounder with 6.7 per 36 minutes. DJ gets 6.9 per 36 minutes, Odom 7.0 and Blake 7.5. He also fits the criteria of being able to hit free throws, hitting 72% for his career. The fact that he has a three point shot isma nice bonus.

Amnesty_David_Stern
Clipper All-Star
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Drew Gooden was just amnestied by the Bucks. He did really well here during his short tenure. Scoring and rebounding there.

This team needs to enter panic mode like real soon because Dalembert just got a contract from the Mavs. Bigs are starting to get scooped up left and right now as teams fill out their rosters. If the team doesn't think KMart or Odom can be productive enough, as many other teams would probably feel as well the list of big men gets shorter and shorter.

And I'd imagine Mullens could get paid a little bit more than what we could offer. Money and more playing time do matter to players over going to a winning team.

AbbaGav
Clipper D-League Pickup
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votes: 0

I just have this feeling that Gooden is older than Jason Kidd. Ok, maybe not that old, but old. If I'm going to spin the minimum-salary roulette wheel, I'd rather take a shot at a younger guy, like Mullens.

Amnesty_David_Stern
Clipper All-Star
Posts: 2333
votes: 7

Drew Gooden age 31.

BringKamanBack
Clipper 6th Man
Posts: 179
votes: 0

from your lips to Doc's ears..

CapsNClips
CTB MVP X1
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Clippers are currently 4-1 odds to win the NBA Championship, behind only Miami who is 2-1. This is from MGM.

pageC4
CTB MVP X1
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wow. I like those odds. Can't wait for the regular season

ArmoClipFan
Posts: 189
votes: 0

We listened to espn and got mullens! We jus need anotjer rebounder now

ClipSince7thGrade
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I mean this Mullens deal was supposed to be completed late wednesday/early thursday. There's been no news of a falling out with talks so I'm assuming it's still on. If it really is still on I'd take Mullens and then give LO a vet minimum contract. My preference is that we get K-Mart and LO, with Lamar's rebounding and Martin's gritty defense I think that would be a perfect fit and also take us to that next level. K-Mart can swing down and play the 5 spot at times, he's still strong enough to do it, but that's just my opinion.

Main reason why I'd take Mullens is because he's been improving every single season in some aspect, the ones that matter for a center, and I'd be really interested how he will improve further under Doc Rivers but I'm also in this win now mode, that's why K-Mart is so appealing to me. I think that LO is a must to come back not just for chemistry but also he was showing promise at the end of the season, not exactly when we needed it but it showed. I think that if he's keeping himself in shape this off season he'll come back like the sixth man LO or even better.

Also something that I know isn't related to this thread but I need to make a comment about it. I think that we need to get Reggie Bullock into a contract and develop him into our starting SF, kid is showing a lot of promise from what I saw in the summer league games. Can shoot from 3pt consistently, alright ball facilitator, and unreal defense. With time I can see him being our third or fourth best player on the team

Icecoldclipper
CTB MVP X2
Posts: 9427
votes: 20

I wouldn't be against letting Wayns go and then signing Odom/Camby or Tyrus Thomas and Mozgov

Paul/Collision/Green

Redick/Crawford/ Bullock/Green

Dudley/Barnes/Bullock

Griffin/Thomas/Mullens/Davies

Jordan/Mullens/Mozgov/Thomas

donudon
Clipper D-League Pickup
Posts: 31
votes: 0

Bernard James just got released from the Mavs. I know he plays well defensively and is physical but I don't know much of his offensive prowess. You guys think he can play well for us? I know we can get him cheap for sure.

Flushyriver
Clipper Starter
Posts: 287

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We need just that sort of interior presence in a backup and the defensive addition would be a great upgrade. But I think there might be a few teams interested in bidding on him and if he clears waivers he may still resign with the mavs. It's tricky and probably unlikely, but I like the idea.

botev1921
Clipper Starter
Posts: 532

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Amusing how many people keep wanting to get old Clippers trash BACK. Get Martin, get Camby, get Brand...what's the matter with you...hell, let's get Brian Skinner! We are building something new here and there is a saying - you don't open a new whore house with old whores!

ClipSince7thGrade
Clipper Starter
Posts: 547
votes: 0

Martin and Camby can make huge contributions to this team, Camby mostly would effect the team off the court but still it would be big for us. Epic B*tch can suck a fat one, never want him back on this team but I'm not going to turn down help from Martin and Camby

CapsNClips
CTB MVP X1
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Does that mean we have to fire Doc now? Because he was a Clipper you know. Or does this only count for people you don't like?

Barnes was a Clipper his rookie season and I don't feel like trading him. I'm not a fan of your theory. If the player fits then he fits, that should be the only thing we look at.

Flushyriver
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Well said. Don't think the talk about bringing back past Clippers was as much about changing the team to the Clippers of old as it was about availability. It was pretty remarkable how many Ex-Clippers were available at the very start of the off season (the reason for this and shortcomings of the past can be discussed another time -_-)

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