In a market where Chris Kaman got a reported $9.8 million over two years with the Portland Trail Blazers, getting Hawes for just the mid-level exception was an absolute coup by the Clippers. Hawes averaged 13.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and shot better than 41 percent from 3 last season and he’ll be able to really help the Clippers next season with his floor spacing.
The Clippers ranked first in offensive efficiency last season at 112.1 points per 100 possessions, and the addition of Hawes will literally make them unguardable.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul together form perhaps the league’s deadliest pick and roll combo, and with Hawes standing in the corner they will have more room than ever to operate. Hawes is an elite jump shooter and should also get tons of open looks when playing the pick and pop game with Paul.
Last year Hawes posted a ridiculous 70 percent adjusted field-goal percentage on open jump shots with the Cavaliers. He’s not just one of the best shooting big men but overall one of the best jump shooters in the entire NBA.
Hawes addresses multiple needs the Clippers had last season, as they lacked a reliable third big man in the postseason. The trio of Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu and Danny Granger played real minutes in the playoffs, which isn’t viable for a team looking to make it out of the brutal Western Conference.
Additionally the Clips were ranked only 22nd in 3-point percentage at 35.2 percent for the season. Hawes should provide an immediate boost to that number.
The one thing Hawes will have to improve is his defense; he’s not much of a shot blocker and the teams he has played on have generally done better on that side of the court with him on the bench over his seven-year career. Luckily Doc Rivers is a top notch defensive coach and will find a way to make him at least average on that side of the ball.
If you’re 7 feet tall, you should be able to become at least an acceptable defender if you put in the effort and the smarts into doing so.
The Clippers looked like they had no chance to get Hawes, as he was reportedly looking for a deal in the $6 million to $8 million range. There’s no doubt that someone would have offered him something resembling more than $30 million dollars on a four year deal.
Big men who can shoot are just that valuable, and Hawes averaged 9.7 rebounds per 36 minutes last season. There’s only a few players like Hawes in the league, a.k.a big men who can shoot but don’t totally destroy your rebounding prowess, and smart teams realize how valuable they are.
In an interview with Yahoo, Hawes explained his desire to play for a contender:
“Even taking a little less money, this opportunity was too exciting to pass up, I’ve had a taste of the playoffs before, but being a part of this team will be just incredible. You get to a point where you really realize what’s important, and I was thinking: ‘What would my 12-year-old self have done? What would he prioritize?’ It was this opportunity and what they’re building with the Clippers.”
Hawes prioritized winning over money when choosing the Clippers, and he made the right choice: Hawes will be a wonderful addition to a championship caliber squad next season looking to win an NBA title. All in all it’s a great fit for both Hawes and the Clippers.