The Clippers Regress to the Mean


The Clippers have been notoriously bad over their history. In the past few seasons they’ve turned it around. This has been mostly thanks to Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul. I’ll chock all three of these players up to luck. Allow me to explain!

  • Chris Paul – He tried to go to the Lakers, the league vetoed the move. The Clippers lucked out as CP3 wanted out of New Orleans that bad.
  • Blake Griffin – The Clippers only had a 17.7% chance of getting the 1st pick in the 2009 draft. As we point out often, tanking is a bad strategy. Even in the “ideal” cases (the Clippers were tied for the 2nd worst record in the NBA) your odds of getting the best player aren’t that hot.
  • DeAndre Jordan – He was picked up with the 35th pick in the 2nd round. While we definitely talk “diamonds in the rough” around here, DeAndre was not one. His college numbers were meh. He’s turned into a great big.

Their other moves have been hit and miss. For instance, they signed Matt Barnes. However, he was competing for minutes with Caron Butler, who had degraded. They let Reggie Evans go and picked up Jamal Crawford! Their moves had been pretty hit and miss.

This offseason I had to scratch my head as to start it, the Clippers were doing amazingly.

  • Signed Chris Paul to a max contract.
  • Re-signed Matt Barnes for peanuts.
  • Traded Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler for J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley.
  • Signed Darren Collison, also for peanuts.

Chris Paul is amazing. Moving on.

Matt Barnes has been a great player the last four seasons. Yet, either through loyalty or a crazy market, his asking price is a mere $3.5 million a year! He’s older at 32, but given his price and recent production, this was a slam dunk move.

I really like Eric Bledsoe. However,  he’s a young scorer and he’s about to come off his rookie contract. In short, he’s gonna get paid! The Clippers just invested a ton in Chris Paul, so paying a ton for a backup isn’t that wise. They did the smart move and “sold high” on him. Getting back Dudley for him was great. They also dumped Butler, and picked up a good scorer in Redick. Amazing trade.

After losing Eric Bledsoe, the Clippers managed to replace him almost immediately with Daren Collison for the almost nothing!

The Clippers managed to keep their core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. They also gave themselves an upgrade at the 2 and the 3, brought back Barnes and replaced Bledsoe. They are looking scary next season!

That’s why the end of this article baffles me.

It’s not breaking the bank. And with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, it seems unlikely he’ll get major minutes. That said, there is no reason to pick up Mullens. None! He’s got three things going for him: he’s slightly above average at getting defensive rebounds, he’s slightly below average on turnovers, and he’s slightly below average on personal fouls.

Even on the turnover front, there’s something far more unsettling. Byron Mullens is a terrible shooter. Last season his true shooting percentage was 46.5%, an average power forward is at 53.4%! That’s a huge gap. However, Mullens has no problem chucking it up. Mullens takes close to 19 shots per 48 minutes, which is almost 3 more than average! And last year, inexplicably, he put up 7 three pointers per 48 minutes, despite being terrible at them!

Mullens doesn’t do a lot well and his shooting ability and shot selection do not fill me with confidence. This move feels like the Clippers of old. Sure, it won’t sink them, but it won’t help them either. The good news is that the Clippers have pretty much “locked” their roster with their other moves. Unless they make some really stupid trades, the Clippers will be really good for years to come, even with Byron Mullens on the roster.



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