Los Angeles Clippers: Jordan Farmar

How Farmar and Hawes fit with the Clippers

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
Two down, at least two more to go.

The Los Angeles Clippers addressed a couple of important needs after the free-agency signing moratorium ended Thursday, signing a quality third big man in Spencer Hawes and replacing the departed Darren Collison with Jordan Farmar. Under the assumption that rookie C.J. Wilcox will be signed shortly, the roster stands at 11 players; the league’s minimum is 13, so at least two more players must be added.

[+] EnlargeSpencer Hawes
Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SportsSpencer Hawes should be a significant upgrade for the Clippers behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
After shuffling ineffective backups behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan for three seasons, Hawes is a considerable upgrade. The Clippers reportedly used their full mid-level exception to sign him to a four-year, $23 million deal, and he’s worth every penny if he can come anywhere close to replicating last season’s production of 13.2 points on 45.6 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

Hawes provides value as a stretch-5, knocking down 1.6 3-pointers per game on 41.6 percent shooting last season (45 percent after he was traded to Cleveland). When combining his efficiency with his volume (3.9 attempts per game), Hawes had arguably the best 3-point shooting season by a 7-footer in NBA history. His 41.6-percent 3-point shooting was the best mark among 7-footers who have attempted at least 175 3-pointers in a single season.

Ideally, Hawes’ versatility will allow him to back up Jordan and occasionally play alongside him. On offense, he can spot up and spread the floor for Griffin and Jordan to operate inside and step in closer and facilitate from the high post (he posted a 15.8 assist percentage last season). He’s a nightmare to defend in pick-and-pop scenarios, forcing defenses to pick between leaving him open to bury a jumper, or leaving Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford or Farmar to turn the corner and penetrate.

Defensively, Hawes is a minus despite decent shot-blocking skills (1.4 per 36 minutes). He lacks quickness and athleticism, allowing opponents to easily get by him in the pick-and-roll and on closeouts. Opponents shot 53.3 percent at the rim against him, according to NBA.com/Stat’s SportVU data, which is below-average for a center. He also ranked 57th out of the 81 qualifying centers in defensive real plus-minus (RPM) last season.

Meanwhile, Farmar was signed to a two-year, $4.2 million deal with the bi-annual exception and will have a player option on his second season, similar to the contract Collison signed last summer. Likewise, if Farmar exceeds expectations, he will probably opt out after next season and seek a long-term deal with better financial security.

Despite their differences in salary and projected roles, Farmar and Collison are relatively comparable players. Both are score-first point guards who thrive when given a sliver of space to attack the rim in isolation, in transition or out of pick-and-rolls. At the same time, neither has a pass-first mindset, which means the offense can suffer through lulls when they’re at the helm. Farmar has gotten better at looking for his teammates, but it can still be an issue.

As a result, Farmar will likely occupy a similar role to Collison’s last season. He’ll guide the second-unit offense and act as a secondary scorer behind Crawford. Head coach Doc Rivers has relied on dual point-guard lineups in recent years, and Farmar is comfortable sliding up to shooting guard, as he did in New Jersey.

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Blake Griffin
22.2 3.5 0.6 35.0
ReboundsD. Jordan 11.4
AssistsC. Paul 9.5
StealsC. Paul 2.3
BlocksD. Jordan 2.3