Los Angeles Clippers Role Player Flying Under the Radar

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers’ depth is no longer a secret around the NBA, led by former Sixth Man of the year Award winner Jamal Crawford. He has been the guy who everyone looks to for scoring off of the bench. However, it’s Matt Barnes who has flown under the radar during the Clippers success this season off of that talented bench.

The 32-year-old veteran has posted career numbers this season, averaging 11.1 points per game. Barnes has also been a huge contributor on the defensive end of the floor, averaging 1.0 block and 1.3 steals per game. The late offseason signing of Barnes by the Clippers didn’t gain much attention around the basketball world, but now it could be looked at as one of the biggest steals of the summer.

Barnes brings an attitude to the Clippers, which is despised by his opponents and appreciated by his teammates. He is the guy that you hate to go up against, but love to have on your side. The edge that he plays with has earned him 26.5 minutes per game this season, which is the second highest amount in his NBA career. He has even earned the respect to be on the court at the end of some close games for the Clippers.

The Clippers have been very tough to beat when Barnes scores in double figures this season, going 19-2 in those games. The New Year has only gotten better for Barnes through the first five games of 2013, as he is averaging 13.2 points, 3.2 assists, and 6.6 rebounds per game.

So the Clippers bench is headlined by the outstanding play of Crawford this season, but that’s only one piece to the puzzle. It’s clear that Barnes has also been a huge part of the Clippers success this season and he could actually be the most important piece.

Follow Michael Stephenson on Twitter

Around the Web