Final Regular-Season Grades for Every LA Clippers Player

Michael C. JonesContributor IIIApril 18, 2014

Final Regular-Season Grades for Every LA Clippers Player

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    The Los Angeles Clippers made history during the 2013-14 NBA regular season by notching 57 wins to set a franchise record for victories. The players made it happen by taking pride in their roles and earning respect in a competitive Western Conference.  

    Because the Clippers have earned a coveted No. 3 seed and among the league's best, the players deserve to be graded on a curve of sorts. 

    Beyond advanced metrics, the Clippers simply did their jobs well.

    When handing out grades, this was the primary criteria for evaluation. Numbers don't tell the whole story, and a player's success in this regard depends on the expectations within the framework of the team dynamic.

    Let's take a look at how each individual fared this season with that in mind. 

Matt Barnes: B+

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    The Clippers' resident enforcer didn't have his best season from a numbers standpoint. Despite that, he stepped into his role as team bodyguard and Blake Griffin's personal henchman on more than one occasion. 

    In fact, the former UCLA Bruin fought for his teammates so much that he went on a Twitter rant (which he later apologized for) saying he wouldn't do it again because it cost him money. 

    The Clippers need an element of toughness to navigate the Western Conference, and they'll get an early test of physicality as they face the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

    Barnes' averages of 9.9 points and 4.6 rebounds in 2013-14 don't stand out as gaudy compared to his career averages of 7.9 and 4.5, but he filled an important need, backed up his teammates and earned a starting role. 

    In the Clippers' best season to date, that's all they needed from him. 

Reggie Bullock: C

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    In 43 games, the Clips' 2013 first-round pick Reggie Bullock didn't crack the rotation at just 9.2 minutes per game. He found himself fighting for playing time and was forced to develop his game in practice rather than getting valuable in-game experience. 

    He showed promise at times and had a season-high 14 points in a blowout win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 16. According to Basketball-Reference.com, he posted a player efficiency rating of 6.7, well below the league average of 15.  

    He's got to get better, but in this case, he was a victim of circumstance. The Clippers are deep and have lofty goals. That doesn't bode well for a rookie trying to find his footing in the league.

    The former University of North Carolina Tar Heel totaled 14.0 points per 48 minutes, making him 41st among rookies, according to Hoopsstats.com.

    That places him in the middle of the pack with plenty of room to improve down the line. The Clippers have time to let him develop naturally and don't need to rush him.   

Darren Collison: B

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    Darren Collison is another example of a player who did what the Clippers needed when called upon. 

    He filled in for an injured Chris Paul, starting 35 games in his fifth NBA season while the All-Star nursed numerous injuries. Collison posted a 16.2 player efficiency rating, via Basketball-Reference.com, displaying the consistency he's shown through his entire professional career. 

    His assist numbers were down as he posted just 5.2 per 36 minutes after netting 6.1 for his career average, but he limited his turnovers better than ever with just 1.7 per contest against a 2.2 career average. 

Jamal Crawford: A-

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    When healthy, Jamal Crawford was the elite scorer the Clippers needed off the bench. He made a strong case for winning the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award despite missing 13 games due to injury. 

    Ironically, injuries forced the sharpshooter to start an inordinate amount of games and nearly lose his eligibility for the award, but he still met the criteria. 

    The 34-year-old managed 18.6 points per game and 22.0 per 36 minutes. He's got 5.3 win shares, which is just a fraction off his career-best 5.4 from a season ago, per Basketball-Reference.com. The Clippers depend on him, and it shows. 

    He's aging as all players do, but his game has been as timeless as ever. Only injuries prevent him from a higher letter grade here. 

Glen Davis: D+

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    It's either a weird twist of fate or the most unironic set of circumstances ever that Glen "Big Baby" Davis fell out of favor with his head coach at one point because of immature behavior. 

    In 23 games, the big man was nothing more than an experiment gone poorly.

    What's worse, he was a distraction for a team working toward the NBA's ultimate prize. Head coach Doc Rivers summed it up neatly after sending Davis away from the bench in a March 29 win over the Houston Rockets

    Via ESPN.com's Arash Markazi

    He was emotional tonight, and we told him to go sit down. I just thought he was a distraction, and when guys are a distraction, I don't think they should be on the bench. If you're a distraction for anybody on the bench that should be paying attention to the game, then go sit in the back so our guys can watch the game.

    That was only one game, but he struggled to find any consistency with the Clips with a career-low 10.3 PER, according to Basketball-Reference.com.

Jared Dudley: C-

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    After losing his starting role to Barnes in January, Dudley's production dropped in line with his minutes.

    Then, something interesting happened.

    The Clippers got better and more productive behind his diminished role. Los Angeles fared five points better per 100 possessions on offense with Dudley coming off the bench, according to Basketball-Reference.

    The numbers aren't impressive, but Dudley's willingness to take on a lesser role for the good of the team is admirable. It speaks volumes of the team chemistry and is a primary reason they've been successful.

    But there are only so many grade points for a positive attitude. Rivers relegated Dudley to the bench for a reason.

    His 6.9 points and 2.2 rebounds per game were both below his career averages of 8.7 and 3.4. He shot just 36 percent from the three-point line, his worst in that metric since his rookie season. 

    After coming to Los Angeles from the Phoenix Suns, he was expected to be one of the missing pieces to the Clips' championship puzzle. Instead, he's been a relative disappointment. 

Danny Granger: Incomplete

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    A bum ankle has kept Danny Granger out of action since March 27. In just 12 games with the Clippers, his body of work is too small to draw any conclusions about his effectiveness. 

    Los Angeles is playing with house money after signing Granger for what's assumed to be the veteran's minimum. Anything of substance from the 30-year-old swingman would be a bonus, especially heading into the playoffs, where he could suit up against the Golden State Warriors in the first round. 

Willie Green: C+

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    Willie Green may have dipped in efficiency, but he's another player who's dealt with a diminished role with minimal resistance. According to Basketball-Reference, he's posted his lowest player efficiency rating to date with a 7.1 PER in 55 games. 

    The Clips don't need much out of him given their new additions on the perimeter, and it showed this season. 

Blake Griffin: A+

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    Blake Griffin needed to improve for the Clippers to achieve their goals this season. They're not there yet, but are trending in the right direction thanks to his efforts.

    Griffin worked on improving his deficiencies, and it shows. Those subtle yet important changes are the type superstars make year after year.

    Not only has the fourth-year All-Star improved, but he's vaulted himself into legitimate NBA MVP conversations among the likes of Kevin Durant and LeBron James. It's not difficult to understand why upon taking a look at his production. 

    Griffin's posted career per-game highs in points (24.1), assists (3.9) and free-throw percentage (71.5). In addition, he's shown improvement in shooting from mid-range. His shooting percentage went from 34.3 last season to 37.2 from 16-24 feet, according to NBA.com.

    The Clips have made an effort to feature him more and he's given them a major return on their investment. 

Ryan Hollins: C+

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    Ryan Hollins is a known entity in the NBA. He's a non-rotation big man capable of eating up some key minutes off the end of the bench. 

    In 2013-14, he did exactly that.

    Hollins posted 2.3 points per game in just 7.9 minutes. He finished with an 11.9 PER, according to Basketball-Reference.com, and totaled an impressive win shares per 48 minutes of .126. 

DeAndre Jordan: A+

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    The other half of the Clips' dynamic one-two punch in the frontcourt this season featured a resurgent DeAndre Jordan, who earned the NBA's rebounding title with a monstrous 13.6 per game and added another career high in points with 10.4. 

    What's more is he made major strides on the defensive end with 2.5 blocks and one steal per game to notch career highs in those metrics as well. His entire game this season was packaged neatly into its most efficient form to date with an 18.2 PER, according to Basketball-Reference

    In essence, he's done everything better, and it shows in both his game and the Clippers' banner year. 

Chris Paul: B+

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    The Clippers floor general is in the unenviable position of having to live up to enormous self-set standards.

    In 2013-14, he's effectively been average in CP3 terms, but for a stacked Clippers squad, that's good enough to lead them to compete among the NBA's elite. 

    Paul posted a PER of 25.9, per Basketball-Reference.com, close to his career average of 25.6 and still plenty good enough to be considered one of the best players in the league at any position. 

    The biggest knock on Paul's season was the fact he missed 20 games due to injuries. Whether fair or not, being on the floor is critical for a team leader, and the Clips can't afford to be without him in the postseason.

    The numbers support the fact Los Angeles couldn't afford to miss him during the regular season as well.

    When Paul's off the court, the Clips' offensive rating falls from 114.3 to 109.6. On the other end, opponents score 107.5 points as opposed to 103.2 when he's on the floor. 

    In other words, he's so good, that just being there more often would vault his grade into the "A" range. 

J.J. Redick: B

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    J.J. Redick only managed to play in 35 games in 2013-14 as the injury bug affected the Clippers all season long. 

    It hit the 29-year-old perimeter specialist especially hard this year and derailed his best season to date. The good news is that when he was on the floor, he was productive with an average of 15.2 points and a 39.5 three-point percentage. 

    A PER of 16.6, via Basketball-Refernce.com, shows his entire game is trending upward this season, which is enough to award him a strong grade despite sporadic availability. 

Hedo Turkoglu: B-

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    Hedo Turkoglu's job is simple. He's in Los Angeles to stretch the floor at the 4 spot and provide quality minutes as a spot reserve. He's averaging 10.6 points per 36 minutes and shooting a stellar 44.0 percent from the three-point line to fill that niche. 

    Few players at 6'10" can provide the range he offers, and it's one of the reasons he still has an NBA home at age 35. He totaled 38 games played this season and averaged a career-low 10.3 minutes. 

    The Clippers didn't bring him in to do any more than what he did. With that in mind, he gets an above-average mark for filling a small, yet important gap on the roster.