Name: Rodney McGruder
Weight: 200 lbs
Years in NBA: 4
Key Stats: 50 G, 3 GS, 15.0 MIN, 3.2 PTS, 2.6 REB, 0.6 AST, 0.5 STL, .391/.278/.536.
Contract Status: McGruder signed a contract with the Clippers in July totaling three years and $15 million. The final year ($5 million) is non-guaranteed fully if waived before July 14, 2021.
Rodney McGruder was basically found money. Shrewdly claimed off Miami’s waivers shortly before the 2018-19 postseason, even though he was ineligible for said postseason, McGruder looked like an ideal complementary piece for the Clippers’ grand summer rebuild. The Clippers’ front office is brilliant! Look how they conjured a steady, rotational wing from near nothingness! Well, brilliant moves don’t always beget brilliant results.
McGruder’s once acceptable offensive production cratered. Never a consistent knockdown shooter, his three-point touch completely abandoned him this season, producing a 27.8% mark on nearly four tries per game. Without those makes to provide cover, the warts in the rest of McGruder’s game grew more apparent.
McGruder is a solid defender, but he’s no stopper. He’s stronger than he is quick and smarter than he is long. And while he can keep the offense moving with timely cutting and adequate secondary ball handling, he’s short on shot creation, both for himself and anybody else. At his best, McGruder is a useful cog in a well-functioning machine, but without the threat of his shot he became more clog.
And I don’t know if you noticed, but this team didn’t lack for defenders. Even dressing just one of Kawhi Leonard or Paul George heavily reduced the need for Rodney. The addition of Marcus Morris only pushed him further toward the fringe. With the defense covered, shooting became the premium accessory, and it was one thing McGruder couldn’t bring.
Future with Clippers
Has McGruder lost his place in Doc Rivers’ rotation? Did he ever really have one? Making predictions for what will likely prove to be the most unique postseason of my lifetime seems foolish, but if historical precedent holds, the Clippers’ rotation will tighten and McGruder should find himself outside of it. He still provides important depth: for players lost to injury, to foul trouble, and it must be said, to mandatory isolation. Teams may only need seven or eight players. They may need 13 or 14. McGruder won’t be in the first group. But if it turns out there’s a need for the second, he’s a better option than most teams can call upon. This could still work out brilliantly after all.