The Los Angeles Clippers are in need of a back-up power forward or center, preferably one who can create his own shot. They struggled in last season’s playoffs when Blake Griffin went down with an injury. It appears the team aims to sign Byron Mullens to a two-year contract for the veterans’ minimum. Mullens averaged 10 points and six rebounds while shooting 38% from the field and 31% from behind the arc for the Charlotte Bobcats last season. When he was a starter, his stats jumped to 11 points and seven rebounds. He was a good finisher at Ohio State and played closer to the rim during his limited playing time with the Buckeyes. He’s 24, possesses above-average athleticism, likes to take outside jumpers as if he’s Dirk Nowitzki, and plays horrible defense.
While Mullens is not the stretch four that the Clippers were exactly looking for, he can play an important role coming off the bench. He has added the three-point shot to his arsenal, but he needs to bulk up and play down low rather than force outside jump shots. If Mullens is an able listener, the coaching staff can teach him to take smarter shots, play better defense, and accept his role as an offensive boost from the bench. He’s not expected to carry the majority of the offensive load this time around like his Bobcats days, and Chris Paul will be the one finding him open shots. Thus, his field-goal percentage should improve. His offensive repertoire can complement Griffin’s inside game. Opposing teams will think twice about doubling Griffin if Mullens can consistently nail the outside jumper. Mullens may not be the answer, but he will fill in nicely.