That moment when you are a Los Angeles Clippers fan and you realize your GM has absolutely no clue what he’s doing…

Lance

 

When I first saw this rumor pop up: I literally thought it was an Onion article.

There is just no way, NO WAY after the abominable Eric Bledsoe/Caron Butler –> Jared Dudley/JJ Redick swap … or … trading the team’s only promising young wing player (Reggie Bullock) for his OWN SON, who had arguably the worst statistical season in NBA history … that Doc Rivers could completely whiff — like Pedro Cerrano swinging at a curveball — on another trade.

Sorry to disappoint you, Jobu, but Doc just blew away another year of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin’s prime again like…

aq28

Let’s get some facts out-of-the-way real quick, so I can defend myself:

  • The trade isn’t terrible in re: to salary cap implications for the Clippers. Despite being severely overpaid, the Clippers are only on the hook for Lance’s owed $9 Million this upcoming season — as his 2016-2017 commitment is a $9.4 Million team option
  • Doc Rivers got rid of Spencer Hawes! I don’t care if you have to sacrifice your only daughter to ‘The Lord of the Light’, if you somehow find someone to take Spencer Hawes and his absolutely rancid 3 Year/$17 Million contract off of your books without having to part with Chris Paul or Blake Griffin, you do it seven days a week. (Side note: We don’t talk enough about Spencer Hawes being the best businessman in America. How on EARTH did he convince an NBA team to pay him TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS TO PLAY BASKETBALL!?!?!)
  • Lance Stephenson had a PHENOMENAL 2013-2014 campaign with the Indiana Pacers
    • More Specifically: He recorded a…
      • 3.0 VORP
      • 2.3 BPM
      • 1.7 DBPM
      • 0.7 OBPM
      • .130 WS/48
aq30

What you’re looking at here are some amazing advanced NBA metrics.

WS/48 represents ‘Win Shares per 48 minutes”, which is an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player per 48 minutes. The league average is ~1.00. The Columns defining BPM are a box score estimate of the offensive/defensive/total points per 100 possessions the player contributes above a league-average player, translated to an average team. VORP is a box score estimate of the points per 100 team possessions that a player contributed above a REPLACEMENT player, translated to an average team.

Translation: Lance Stephenson absolutely killed it for the Indiana Pacers, and deserved his (what many considered excessive) 3-year/$27 Million free agent contract with the Charlotte Hornets.

Wait a minute, advanced statistics like that? $27 million was a bargain, no? Usually, i’d say ‘absolutely’, but, we’re dealing with a special breed of NBA player here — one that was born ready to make some of the most asinine basketball decisions you will ever see…

….admittedly can’t help himself from being “a bad teammate”…

…despite having the best year of his career: had the face of the franchise say “I don’t know…” when asked if he wanted Lance back with the team.

…but to his credit: for every horrible play, there’s usually a good one that follows…

There is no denying that the talent is there for Lance … hell, there are numerous YouTube pages of videos with amazing plays he’s pulled off  … but, only once (2013-2014) in a five year career has he been able to parlay his ‘talent’ into team success.

Furthermore, check out how far Lance’s advanced metrics dropped off when he was plugged into a different system in Charlotte this past season:

aq31

GOOD LORD.

There’s a reason why Stephenson can go absolutely “off”, and his team(s) still loses … from my experience: it’s because he thinks he’s always the best player on the floor. And while there’s nothing wrong with having this type of confidence in yourself, Lance lets it engulf him like he’s Jim Carrey schizing out in Me, Myself, and Irene…

aq32

…and let’s said attitude trump winning. (Somewhere: Nick Young and J.R. Smith are nodding in agreement.)

Anyways, while the financial/salary cap risk is low in re: to Lance, there are two very important dominoes that have fallen/might fall this summer.

 
  • Matt Barnes is gone. The same battled-tested, tough-as-friggin-nails, playoff warrior Matt Barnes who was the team’s most important wing/role player during the post season — and was, at times, the only pair of cojones this notoriously “soft”, “whiny” Clipper roster had…
aq36  
  • I think I speak for everyone when I say: Matt Barnes’ impact on an NBA game stretches far beyond the box score, and the unteachable grit he plays with has been replaced by the oversized baggage of Lance Stephenson.
  • This may cause DeAndre Jordan to leave the Clippers. It’s not a money thing, as LAC can and will offer DeAndre a maximum five-year/$108 million deal, per ESPN’s Arash Markazi. Rather: Despite his woeful free throw shooting and inability to make anything outside of the paint, DeAndre has become a perennial superstar. Is he ok with being the “third wheel” to the Chris Paul/Blake Griffin tandem AND having to deal with Lance Stephenson’s shenanigans for at least an entire season? My answer is: no. DeAndre knows how good he is, and I think Doc’s acquisition today will initiate the nightmare scenario that the Clippers and their fans have been dreading since the final buzzer during Game 7 in Houston: Jordan leaves LA this Summer, signs a 1YR/$20 Million contract with another club, and sets himself up to get paid a GARGANTUAN extension in 2016 when the NBA’s new TV deal/increased salary cap rules kick in.
Ultimately, in my opinion: yesterday’s trade (plus the three major ones Doc has processed since taking over general manager responsibilities) will leave a wake that’ll produce a catastrophic, tsnuami-sized ripple — which will cause damage that’ll all but waste the “superstar” year(s) and 82-game + playoffs durability that Chris Paul/Blake Griffin have remaining to win a NBA Championship.

 

But hey! Thank God CP3 isn’t a hot head or anything…

aq33

because him and Lance on the same team…what could possibly go wrong?

aq34

Wake me up when Doc Rivers hands over the Clippers’ basketball operations reins, and sticks to coaching…

aq29