While most franchises are having to wait past July 10th (the day which teams can officially sign free agents) to acquire and unveil new talent, the Los Angeles Clippers have taken care of business in a timely fashion. On Thursday, Clippers head of basketball operations Doc Rivers took the stage at the Staples Center joined by the two newest additions to the squad, center Spencer Hawes and point guard Jordan Farmar.
Going into the offseason, Doc Rivers and company knew exactly what they were after and when the clock struck 12:01 east coast time on July 1st, Rivers contacted Hawes and Farmar. While neither of these guys are franchise altering players, there is something to be said for a franchise recognizing their needs and acting swiftly to fill those needs with quality players. With this in mind, let’s grade these acquisitions.
Spencer Hawes, Center. Grade A-: Spencer Hawes is worth the full mid level exception, there is no doubt about that. For the Clippers, he might have been worth even more. The Clippers needed depth in the front court, he provides it. They needed a guy who could play either position, he provides that. The Clippers needed a big who could really stretch the floor, he provides that. They needed a player who could adapt to the guys he’s playing with, he provides that. Finally, they needed a guy who is talented enough to start on most teams, but will embrace the role of coming off the bench, without a doubt Hawes provides that.
In the introductory press conference, both Farmar and Hawes spoke to how good it felt having the Clippers contact them right away, “feeling wanted” as they both put it. Hawes continued to say that this was a team that “looks like they are having fun while they play” and as Hawes spoke, the genuine excitement in his voice was evident.
“You can never have enough shooting” Doc Rivers said that upon drafting C.J Wilcox of Washington, but the same concept applies to Hawes. Hawes shooting percentages last season(41% in Philly, 45% in Cleveland) could very well be re-created this season due to his best intangible, his shot selection. He likes open threes off of drive and kicks(which he will see many of) and he knows when to get to the rim. Great pick up by Doc Rivers, he really fits the billing of what the Clippers needed.
Jordan Farmar, Point Guard. Grade B+: This grade doesn’t really have a whole lot to due with Farmar as much as it has to do with Doc Rivers. The Clippers front office came to the realization that Darren Collison most likely would not be with the Clippers moving forward, so they began to seek out his replacement.
Jordan Farmar has two championship rings. He played at UCLA. He played for the Lakers for many years, and his family live in Los Angeles. There is something to be said for a guy who is instantly comfortable with his surroundings after making the change from one franchise to another. Farmar said yesterday “I never expected to play with the Clippers, yet I never expected to play overseas either. It’s great to be in a place where I am comfortable, and where I feel wanted”.
He can shoot, he’s embracing his role as the back up point guard and, he can play both the point as well as the two. Farmar does a lot of the same things Collison did, so from an intangible standpoint the Clippers haven’t lost much in that regard. What remains to be unseen is if he can deliver in the ways Collison did, and the bigger question is can he help pick up the slack defensively for Jamal Crawford the way Collison did? Doc Rivers believes so.
Once again, the Clippers have taken care of business early on in free agency. Barring a trade, this will likely be the roster the Clippers will carry heading into next season. Doc Rivers got the “puzzle pieces” he wanted, and at first glance I believe he got the right guys to fill what was left by departing players. Overall, I give the Clippers an A- this offseason.