The Clips signed Spencer Hawes to fill the role of a third big, and will probably expect him to play big minutes and possibly even crunch time if DeAndre Jordan becomes unplayable at the end of games due to his poor free throw shooting. They also could use a bigger wing, someone other than just Matt Barnes to throw at the Kevin Durants of the world when they get hot.
There are a few of those guys still on the market, and even though the Clippers are capped out they will probably look to add one of those wings at a minimum salary. Additionally they lost Darren Collison to the Sacramento Kings and signed another ball handler in Jordan Farmar.
Farmar is a bit bigger and bulkier than the wiry Collison, and will probably fit Rivers’ defensive schemes better. Both Hawes and Farmar will play a big role for the Clippers, not only because they can be impact players but because the Clippers don’t really have any viable alternatives.
Here’s what the Clippers projected depth chart for the 2014-15 season looks like:
PG – Chris Paul/Jordan Farmar
SG – J.J. Redick/Jamal Crawford/C.J. Wilcox
SF – Matt Barnes/Jared Dudley/Reggie Bullock/(Maybe one more wing)
PF – Blake Griffin/Glen Davis/(Veteran’s minimum big)
C – DeAndre Jordan/Spencer Hawes
Win shares are a pretty accurate description of how a player impacts his team’s chance of winning. There are some caveats where win shares go wrong but generally when you add up a team’s players individual win shares you get the number of total wins they had (the standard deviation is only +/- 2.7 wins).
Assuming Spencer Hawes stays relatively healthy and plays around and bit more than 20 minutes per game next season, he will tally somewhere between 1,700 to 2,000 minutes, replacing minutes from Antawn Jamison, Stephen Jackson, Ryan Hollins, Glen Davis, Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley, Byron Mullens, Danny Granger, Hedo Turkoglu (a hilariously shaky frontcourt rotation), who combined for 2.9 win shares when playing either the power forward or center position.
If Hawes plays like he did last season for the Cavaliers, he projects to add 4.4 win shares for the Clippers, a plus 1.5 mark from last season.
Jordan Farmar looks to be a bit of a downgrade from Collison in terms of advanced stats and based on his production last season when given Collison’s minutes will produce a net minus of three more losses. On the other hand if he plays up to his career average in terms of win shares, the difference between win shares will amount to about one additional loss.
Now this may seem like nitpicking and it is, the point here is that statistically it looks like neither Farmar nor Hawes will be likely to move the needle much, and the combination of them is at best a slight positive and at worst a non-factor. The Clippers won 57 games last season, which historically gives a team about a 15 percent chance of winning a title.
The raw numbers don’t show that getting Hawes or Farmar will help , but it’s more than likely that it’s fit more than pure production that could make a difference here. Just having Hawes standing in the corner when Paul and Griffin are running a pick and roll is huge and will open up tons of space on the floor.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Hawes is utilized in pick and pop situations. Rivers loved running those kinds of actions for Kevin Garnett in Boston, and now he has a true jump shooting big man again.
Players like Hawes are rare; there are only a couple of big men who can shoot and don’t destroy your rebounding rate. And they are insanely valuable.
Farmar is a good pro and can run an offense and get the ball into Blake Griffin. That’s really all you can ask for along with some good defense from a player making only $2 million a year.
Collison was destroyed in the playoffs last season by Russell Westbrook in the post and Farmar is more likely to be able to hold his ground and battle bigger and better point guards. The Clippers didn’t have much flexibility going into this offseason, and considering that they only had their mid-level and bi-annual exceptions to use, they made it out pretty well.
Nothing that’s going to be an absolute game changer, but enough to give them just a tiny bit of a better chance to win an NBA title next season. Every inch helps.