Los Angeles Clippers’ Next Priority Should be Blake Griffin’s Backup

Blake Griffin

Robert Hanashiro-USA Today Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in round one of last season’s NBA playoffs once their all-star forward, Blake Griffin, was hobbled with a sprained ankle. Time to look for a backup big man. After Griffin sprained his right ankle in practice before Game 5 of the Grizzlies-Clippers series, he was a shell of himself. He was limited to 20 minutes and finished with four points, five rebounds and five assists. The Clippers’ other bigs could not pick up the slack. Zach Randolph torched them with 25 points and 11 rebounds. The Clippers’ big men combined to have 18 points and seven turnovers. In Game 6, Griffin was limited to 14 minutes and nine points. Once he could no longer play at full strength, the Grizzlies bullied their way to wins in Games 5 and 6, clinching the series 4-2.

The Clippers don’t have much salary flexibility once they re-signed Chris Paul, but they do have two mid-level exceptions, a $5.15 million and a $3.18 million one. While it would be awesome to re-sign forward Matt Barnes, since he always played tough defense, makes smart cuts and can hit the open three, picking up Jared Dudley and drafting Reggie Bullock makes signing a backup big more important. The Clippers are currently interested in Golden State Warriors free agent Carl Landry. His ability to create his own shot will provide scoring off the bench when Griffin sits. In addition, he knocked down 43.4% of his mid-range shots and he’s an 81% free throw shooter. That’ll come in handy late in the fourth quarter when the Clippers have the lead and the opposing team wants to foul someone to stop the clock. We couldn’t have DeAndre Jordan in the fourth quarter because the other team would foul him and his free-throw percentage is 38%.

Another big man the Clippers can trade for is Denver Nuggets center Anthony Randolph. He was hardly used by the team, but when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2010-11 season, he averaged 19.8 points, 52% field goal, and 79% free throw during the team’s last five games. His contract is $1.7 million, so he’ll be easier to acquire if the Nuggets are willing trade partners.

 

Robert Lin is a Los Angeles Clippers writer for RantSports.com,

Follow him on Twitter @rlin2k

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