The Los Angeles Clippers came thisclose to getting to their first NBA Finals this year, but they fell short. With superstar Kawhi Leonard going down with a knee injury in the playoffs, the Clips had to improvise and rely on the role players they had assembled — and it almost worked.
Now, as teams try to fill their rosters with hidden gems, one analyst has a very specific suggestion for L.A. when it comes to improving its squad: add a reliable backup center.
Clutch Points’ Kousha Kangaroo notes that the Clippers “still lack a durable option at center outside of Ivica Zubac,” and as a result, their biggest need is “a young and durable center that can make an immediate impact.”
Analyst Pushes Clippers to Add Another Big Man
With Ivica Zubac and Serge Ibaka –who turns 32 in September — returning, Kangaro thinks the Clippers’ current third option at center, DeMarcus Cousins, won’t cut it moving forward.
“DeMarcus Cousins wasn’t bad for them last season, but he still wasn’t 100% healthy and was a defensive liability at times,” Kangaro wrote, before throwing two suggestions out there:
“A few names that come to mind are Bismack Biyombo and Harry Giles. Both are free agents and would be welcome additions on the Clippers. Not to mention their games could vastly improve playing with the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Terrence Mann, Reggie Jackson, and Justice Winslow.”
Sure — but Kawhi will be out for the bulk of next season, if not the entire thing, so there are some who would argue the Clips should prioritize a scorer who can also create opportunities for others, and they wouldn’t be wrong, either.
Would Biyombo or Giles Be Good Fits in Los Angeles?
Here’s Kangaro’s logic for pushing the Clips to sign Biyombo or Giles:
“With their relentless two-way brand of basketball, the Clippers would be truly unstoppable with a consistent center rotation. The addition of Biyombo or Giles would give them another shot blocking and rebounding big that could provide some relief to Zubac who played the bulk of minutes at center during the Clippers deep playoff run in 2021. Especially now that they’ve got their core returning to action next season. The skillsets of Biyombo and Giles fit in perfectly with the system LA wants to run and would give them a solid back-up to Ivica Zubac next season. Between the skills and experience of both free agent centers, either would make for a perfect addition to the Clippers and be able to make an immediate impact during their NBA Finals run in 2022.”
Biyombo averaged 5.0 points, 5.3 rebounds 1.1 blocks and a career-high 1.2 assists with the Hornets last year in 36 starts and 66 total games played. He averaged just over 20 minutes a game.
Giles is a bit younger than Biyombo, but his stat line isn’t quite as high. In his third season with the Portland Trail Blazers last year, he averaged 9.2 minutes a game, scoring 2.8 points while hauling in 3.5 rebounds and dishing out 0.8 assists per game. He also averaged just 0.3 blocked shots a game, which doesn’t scream monster defense. It was a down year for the former Duke big man, who averaged nearly 7.0 points and just under 4.0 rebounds a game in his first two seasons.
Would either be improvements over Cousins, though? That’s certainly debatable, although they would both be better overall defenders. In his limited time with the Clippers last year (he played in 16 games, averaging 12.9 minutes per game), Cousins averaged 7.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists, but his defense was nothing to write home about.
Biyombo is the most intriguing of the two. Entering his 11th season this year, he would be younger than Cousins and bring far more experience than Giles. He’s currently a free agent, so if the price is right, he might be worth a look for the Clippers.