How Matt Barnes Signing Affects Los Angeles Clippers' Title Odds

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIISeptember 15, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 19:  Matt Barnes #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Clippers' active offseason has yet to come to a close.

The Clippers have made headlines this summer, acquiring big name free agents such as Jamal Crawford and Lamar Odom, as well as re-signing Chauncey Billups. In turn, the franchise has proven that they are finally ready to avoid complacency.

With their latest move, they've also proven to be well-aware of the notion that defense wins championships.

Donald Sterling, Gary Sacks and the Los Angeles Clippers made a major move on September 14, signing defensive guru Matt Barnes. Barnes, who most recently spent two years with the cross-city rival Los Angeles Lakers, played 38 games with the Clippers back in 2004.

Since then, the California native has been a lead defender on eight different teams. In that time, he has made the postseason four times and averaged 21.1 minutes per game.

Experience in the playoffs is something that this young team could certainly benefit from.

As the Los Angeles Clippers gear up for a postseason run, it's become clear that their thin roster from the 2011-12 NBA season has sent concern throughout the organization. Although Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have proven capable of leading the team to relative glory, depth has always been an issue for the Clippers.

With a group of wings that now consists of Chauncey Billups, Jamal Crawford, Caron Butler and Matt Barnes, however, it appears as if they have solved that issue.

Although we could speculate the direct result Barnes' signing will have on the Los Angeles Clippers' game plan, the value here stretches beyond a mere execution of plays. Instead, this signing will be measured by it's ability to bring a title to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The question is, was adding Matt Barnes the final piece to this complicated puzzle?

Before we get carried away, let's acknowledge one thing. Regardless of how sound Barnes may be on the defensive end, he is not going to suddenly shut down conference rivals such as Kevin Durant or Rudy Gay.

Durant proved such when he averaged 26.8 points on 51.6 percent shooting against Barnes and the Lakers during the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.

What Matt Barnes provides, however, is depth at what was one of the Clippers' weakest positions. Behind the injury-prone Caron Butler is the 39-year-old and equally as fragile Grant Hill. To put it simply, uncertainty at the NBA's fastest rising position is a recipe for failure.

The Clippers have responded by piecing together a roster that consists of three players capable of contributing quality minutes.

Regardless of how much Matt Barnes improves the Clippers' perimeter, however, there is no way around the fact that one glaring void remains. Through all of the frontcourt improvements that L.A. has made, the center position remains a gaping hole in this rotation.

For that reason, the Los Angeles Clippers' championship odds have not improved as much as one might believe.

As previously acknowledged, the Clippers' championship chances hinge upon the progression of center DeAndre Jordan. Without his development into an elite defensive force, the Clippers will be rendered helpless against Dwight Howard and the Lakers.

They'll also find it difficult to defend elite slashing or interior scoring opponents such as the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs.

To sum up the Matt Barnes signing, consider this an individual bandage on an open gash. While it helps to contain the bleeding, it does not prevent the potential losses.

There are only positive ramifications to take from this signing. With that being said, the Los Angeles Clippers must improve their interior defense if they are to win the NBA Title.