Although the Los Angeles Clippers added Marcin Gortat, the team is still going to be weaker at center without DeAndre Jordan. A free agent surprise may be the answer.
The Los Angeles Clippers do not look terrible at the center position but the team is definitely not great, either. With DeAndre Jordan opting out of his contract and signing with the Dallas Mavericks, the Clippers turn to Marcin Gortat for the starting duties.
Gortat was acquired in the trade that sent guard Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards. With the Wizards last season, Gortat averaged 8.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 25.3 minutes per game.
Gortat averaged just about 30 more minutes per game in each of the six seasons prior to 2017 (in 2014-2015 he averaged 29.9). The significant drop off in production was directly related to the reduced playing time.
Behind Gortat on the Clippers’ depth chart is Boban Marjanovic. Marjanovic is fine as a backup center due to his size and ability to protect the rim. However, Marjanovic has not yet lived up to the hype that often surrounds a center that is seven-foot-three.
Again, the Clippers should be fine with Gortat and Marjanovic but it should not stop there. The Clippers should take a chance on a still available free agent center with some upside that may just need a change of scenery.
The Los Angeles Clippers should add former third-overall pick, Jahlil Okafor.
At only 22 years old, Okafor still has plenty of time to blossom more into the star that the Philadelphia 76ers thought he was when the team drafted him. And while Okafor may never be a bonafide all-star or All-NBA talent, he could turn into quite the talent and compete for the starting job.
Okafor has shown great spurts at dominating down low with the basketball as well as being a decent rebounder and shot blocker. However, his overall numbers still leave more to be wanted.
Last season, Okafor averaged 6.3 points 3.0 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game. That is not the most impressive stat line, however, Okafor only averaged 12.6 minutes per game.
It was just three seasons ago in which Okafor averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Injuries have obviously slowed his career down but Okafor has showcased that he can be one of the more talented big men in the league.
Plus, he has never really played for a good team. While the Clippers are a borderline playoff team, he played for the terrible version of the 76ers and the Nets last season. Neither of those teams can really provide motivation to produce your best basketball.
In Los Angeles, though, Okafor would get a much-needed change of pace into the Western Conference where things typically run a tad faster. It may not end up working out but signing Okafor is a small risk the Los Angeles Clippers should take that has a massive reward.