When the trade first went down, it was expected that the Clippers would buy out Drew Gooden and he would ;and somewhere as additional depth for a contending team. But instead, the Clippers like what they have found.
“We’re going to keep him,” Clippers general manager Mike Dunleavy said in phone interview shortly thereafter with FanHouse from Lexington, Ky., where he will scout Thursday’s game between Kentucky and South Carolina. “There’s no ‘probably.”’
“To have another body, I consider him our second-best big,” said a pleased Kim Hughes when told after the game about Dunleavy’s assurance Gooden will stay. “It’s great because it gives us more rotations again.”
Gooden has played two games as a Clipper, one he started, and he has averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds (he had 20 points against Detroit). He is filling a need at the four, which was supposed to be Blake Griffin’s spot this year, then belonged to Marcus Camby for most of the season until he was traded.
Gooden has brought energy to the team, something that can stick out watching the Clippers. He is aggressive on the glass, and can play pick-and-roll defense like a pit bull. He has offensive limitations, and can lose that defensive focus, but for the most part has been a pleasant surprise for the Clippers.
And for once, owner Donald Sterling is not making a decision based solely on saving a few bucks. So Gooden stays because it is good for the basketball team.