The Clippers need to make a trade.
Watching them play OKC made this very clear. They have so many pieces, but too many, and not the right ones.
Here is what OKC has:
-The best player in the conference
-A top ten player
-A good off-ball perimeter scorer off the bench
-A good off-ball big man scorer and defensive anchor
-A long perimeter defensive specialist who can hit an open 3
-Two big men who play good defense and know their place
And that's it. Nobody else on that team is significant at that point, and everyone knows it, and that's okay, because it's about having the right players, not the most good ones. I don't know if I can think of a team that's better put together than the Thunder since I've been an NBA fan.
The Clippers are so stacked, but who fears them? It's because they don't have the right pieces. Take their backcourt. A Paul/Billups/Butler backcourt makes no sense. These are 3 players who all have no length and score the exact same way, and none of them can do anything meaningful off-ball. Might as well lump Hill in with those 3. Hill, Billups, and Paul are all players every team would love to have but they're redundant.
Now take Odom. I've always been a big Odom fan, but he does the same thing for you that Blake Griffin does. Great touch inside, great handles and good passing for a big man. So for this team no matter how good Odom gets all he can really be is a rebounding specialist, and you want your rebounding specialist to be someone who doesn't have mental problems, but instead who can intimidate and knock people around.
Jamal Crawford. Talented player. But he's the only player on the roster who can create his own shot other than Paul. After a dreamy start to the season, he's back down to 42%, where he always has been and always will be. He's inefficient and undependable. He is neither a 4-quarter go-to offensive option, nor the guy you go to for the last shot (Paul is). So what is he? He is a spark off the bench from the perimeter. Sweet - that's good to have. But so is Eric Bledsoe. Crawford is clutch - but so you're telling me you're not putting Finals MVP Billups out there in the last 2 minutes?
I think this team's one trade away from being *serious* contenders, who are actually right at the top of the world with OKC and the Heat. As it stands now it's simply a big glob of likeable and high-character talent.
However, I don't know what that trade is. But the problem remains that when a game is tight and close, you have your 5 guys versus the other team's 5 guys, and LAC's starting lineup minus Paul is indistinguishable from their bench - which says a lot about their bench and little about their starting lineup. Is there anyone out there who could serve as an upgrade? LAC has a bunch of players that plenty of teams would want.