There’s no way around it: Spencer Hawes has been a massive disappointment in his first season as a Clipper.
The team signed Hawes to a four-year, $23-million contract this summer expecting the forward-center to make three-pointers and stretch defenses.
It hasn’t happened. Not even close.
Hawes began the season coming off the bench before moving into the starting lineup last month when Blake Griffin was sidelined by a staph infection in his right elbow, but Hawes’ production has not appreciably increased even while playing more minutes.
He is averaging 7.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game while shooting 36.2% as a starter compared to 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in 17.0 minutes and 42.4% shooting as a reserve after the Clippers’ 129-99 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night at American Airlines Center.
Overall, Hawes is on pace for his worst statistical output — averages of 6.5 points and 3.9 rebounds — since his rookie season with the Sacramento Kings in 2007-08. His 40.1% field-goal accuracy would be a career low if he sustained it for the entire season and he has made only 31.8% of his three-pointers.
Is there anything Coach Doc Rivers can do to help Hawes reverse his fortunes so deep into a season?
“No, I just think he’s going to keep getting better,” Rivers said of Hawes, who had four points and three rebounds against the Mavericks. “He’s obviously not had the year we’d like, but it’s a long year.
“I’ve seen guys have horrible regular seasons and then break out in the playoffs. You don’t know where it’s coming, but we still believe in him just like the other 20 teams that wanted to sign him. It’s there and we have to get it out.”
DeAndre Jordan told reporters he would seek a five-year contract this summer instead of a one-year deal that would allow him to sign a more lucrative five-year contract in 2016 when revenues from the NBA’s new television contract begin being distributed.
“I’m not going to be greedy,” Jordan said. “I’m not going to sign a one-year deal. I’m just focused on getting it over with, moving on and focusing on playing again.”
If Jordan signed a one-year contract with the Clippers this summer for about $19 million, he could re-sign in 2016 for five years and an estimated $130 million as opposed to the five years and roughly $109.3 million he could command this summer.
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Rivers sharply criticized an ESPN.com story questioning his contention that Jordan should be the NBA’s defensive player of the year.
“I took offense to that article,” said Rivers, who also noted that writer Tom Haberstroh dismissed Jordan’s candidacy without mentioning his rebounding prowess.
Only one problem: Haberstroh devoted an entire chunk of his story to rebounding. Rivers acknowledged he had not read the story and had portions of it relayed to him by the Clippers’ public relations staff.
Why doesn’t Rivers read articles about his team?
“It just gives me a chance to focus on my job,” Rivers said. “No matter what you say or do, I’m still going to do my job and I think that’s a better place for me.”