It's an interesting question, at least if we assume Melo would be the nominal PF in LA.
On the "plus" side, Melo's shooting range and post play would probably improve the Clipper's scoring (only I'd be worried about efficiency). What's more, the Clippers have good/great shooters at the guard positions and on the wing. Melo would have plenty of room to operate.
On the other hand...
- Melo seems content to be an isolation scorer, and I don't see him developing the chemistry that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul enjoy.
- Melo's defense is mostly bad - he doesn't believe in playing defense most of the season. When a high-profile or playoff game comes along, Melo's defensive effort improves to 'average.' Griffin, on the other hand, is average on defense most nights, and occasionally much better.
- Melo has all but certainly peaked - Griffin still has a few years before he reaches the high point of his career.
- Griffin's rebounding and scoring efficiency are superior to Melo's.
Finally - and perhaps most importantly - Melo's career has shown him to be a selfish player who underachieves. From poor conditioning in the off-season to excuse-making in the playoffs - and poor defensive effort all year long - Melo is a bad seed. Griffin is the better player now, and easily the better player going forward.
Answer by Andres Alvarez, Stat-head and Software Developer
Let's put up a few things. Melo is having a career year this season. It's hard to tell as the Knicks are in free fall but that's on management for letting Novak walk and grabbing Bargnani. Of course, injuries to Chandler and Kidd retiring hurt too.
Melo is about even with Griffin in terms of production this season. What should be noted is that Blake Griffin is doing this as a power forward. While Melo actually plays the four quite well, he prefers the small forward position (who knows why?)
At the end of this season, Blake Griffin will be 25. This is right when players enter their prime. Melo will be 30, right around the time the ticking time bomb of age hits players. But even if we think Melo stays healthy, consider that. Melo is leaving his prime. We've likely seen the best we'll see of him. Griffin is just entering his prime, he could have a higher ceiling. And I just mentioned this season Melo and Griffin are close.
The other major thing to consider is pay. While Griffin and Melo are both max players, Melo has more seniority, and the NBA pays older players more (this is because raises are based on your last contract) Melo is currently $5 million more a season than Griffin. And the new rules that make salary cap even more precious are starting to hit teams. The value of younger stars like Griffin and Davis will be huge going forward.
In the end, Griffin is younger, cheaper, has a better upside, and naturally plays a bigger position. The Clippers have a history of making dumb moves, but they definitely made the right call getting Griffin and Paul inked to long term deals. Provided they don't sign terrible players like Bargnani, or trade away their stars, they have years of winning to come.More questions on 2013-14 NBA Season: