Signings in the transaction window are unlikely to be real difference makers. The veteran Noah comes with the pedigree, but on the back of a major injury and deep into his thirties, his minutes are going to minimal barring an injury to Ivica Zubac or Montrezl Harrell.
Experience, on and off the court, is what Noah offers to this Clippers roster. They are not blessed with an array of title winners, and their centre duo have limited playoff experience. Noah can be a guiding voice as Zubac and Harrell go up against some of the best bigs in the game.
Size has been the Clips’ weakness. Noah, at a shade under seven feet tall, brings another big body for Doc Rivers to put into the mix against Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic or Rudy Gobert. The former Chicago Bull has a reputation for providing energy, for geeing up his teammates and backing down to no one, leading to some famous clashes with LeBron James.
The Clippers have cranked up their defence on occasion. Opponents have been locked down in fourth quarters, turning games around. Perhaps Noah is used in short bursts in those periods, bringing the sort of defensive nous and effort that Harrell and Zubac cannot always provide (particularly if they get in foul trouble).
Another big body was the obvious need for the Clips ahead of the league’s resumption. The extension of Noah’s deal with the team is the sort of thing they needed. Rivers will be hoping he doesn’t require much from the former Defensive Player of the Year, but he’s a useful backup plan if Harrell and Zubac suffer injury, foul trouble or poor defensive performance.
There are more big names set to be signed once the transaction window opens. Which addition will make the biggest impact?