NBA Trade Deadline: Biggest needs and targets for each West contender

Hassan Whiteside (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Hassan Whiteside (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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LA Clippers
LA Clippers Paul George (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

LA Clippers

The LA Clippers are one of the top contenders, and perhaps have the best starting lineup in the NBA. They have bought into Ty Lue’s system and they don’t have much of weakness. However, their ho-hum play the past couple of weeks would have me concerned if I was a Clipper fan. Perhaps some trade deadline move would light the fire under this team.

Need: Defensive reinforcements

What the Clippers are missing is consistent defense. Since January, the Clippers are posting a 114.3 Defensive Rating – 21st in the league. Yeah, this team has Kawhi and PG and Patrick Beverly and they seem able to turn it on when it matters but let’s face it – they’ve been terrible on defense for the last six weeks. Bringing in someone who could help pick up the defense and Ty Lue more options down the stretch.

Solution: George Hill

They don’t necessarily “need” another guard, but George Hill would be a great fit for the Clippers. Hill would be a stabilizing figure on the Clippers team who has extensive playoff experience with his time in Indiana, Utah, Cleveland, and Milwaukee.

Hill could run the second unit where you could expect a consistent level of performance. Last year in Milwaukee, Hill averaged 9 points and 3 assists a game, while shooting 51 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3. He also is a low-usage guy who plays with efficiency – that’s always a welcome to a team needing some final pieces for a championship.

Again, the appeal for Hill would be his defense.  A 6-foot-3 guard with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, Hill has always been an above-average defender and would fit well with the Clippers’ long, switchy defensive group. He won’t generate as many steals or deflections as Reggie Jackson, but he can lock down multiple positions and won’t have defensive lapses.

This move would take away minutes from Lou Williams and Reggie Jackson, but Hill’s impact without jacking up shots would give this team an extra gear.

Clippers likely don’t need to make any moves, but I think adding Hill to the fold would make them the West favorites.

Other Options: Hassan Whiteside, P.J. Tucker