Depth along the front line was a serious issue for the Clippers last season. There was Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, then… Spencer Hawes.
Now the Clippers are going to have a couple very nice reserves, they are expected to bring back Ekpe Udoh.
Now come reports that the Clippers have landed Josh Smith. Michael Scotto of Sheridanhoops.com had it first, others have since confirmed.
The Clippers could only sign him for the league minimum (all they had left) but Smith was good with it since the Pistons still will pay him $5.4 million as part of their waiving and stretch of his contract. (What the Clippers will pay him will be offset from the money Detroit owes him.)
At that price, Smith is a steal.
Smith has his flaws, starting with his love of the three ball — he’s a career 28 percent shooter from three who last season knocked down a barely passable 33 percent with Houston. But coming off the bench, Smith is a massive upgrade for the Clippers — he provides physicality and defense, plus he can still get points and rebounds and defend at a quality level. He brings some legit depth and versatility to the Clippers front line, plus he has stepped up in the playoffs.
Doc Rivers the GM has really helped out Doc Rivers the coach this summer. The formerly anemic Clipper bench will now have Jamal Crawford, Lance Stephenson, Udoh (probably) and Smith (plus guys like Austin Rivers that will get some run).
When you talk serious NBA title contenders next season, do not leave the Clippers off the list.