The Clippers had, perhaps, the best offseason any team has had since the Miami Heat’s summer of LeBron in 2010.
It started with luring in the best free agent on the market, Kawhi Leonard, away from Toronto. Leonard made it clear before his trade to the Raptors last offseason that he wanted to be in LA, and everyone assumed that meant the Lakers. Nobody thought the little brother team would swoop in and steal the prized jewel out from under the Lakers’ nose, but here we are.
For most teams, signing a guy like Kawhi would be enough, but the Clippers were dreaming bigger. The next move they made was to go out and trade basically all of their future assets for Paul George, an MVP finalist from a year ago. LA was able to add 2 top-five players in the league this offseason, only needing to sacrifice one of the young members (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) of their core to secure them.
The team still returns with perennial Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, defensive wizard Pat Beverley, and ferocious big man Montrezl Harrell, to name a few. The Clippers also traded for Mo Harkless, who will give them wing depth off the bench.
They lost a lot of contributors from last year’s squad, most notably SGA and Danilo Gallinari, but replacing them with two legit All-World players leads me to believe that this team will be just fine.
In the first round of this year’s draft, the Clippers selected Mfiondu Kabengele out of Florida State at number 27. In his stint in the Summer League, Kabengele looked like one of the best players in the rookie class, making his presence felt on both ends of the floor. His ability to grab tough rebounds is what stood out the most to me so far, and if he is able to carry that prowess over from the preseason and training camp, he should be able to carve out a role as a rookie this year.
In the second round, the team selected one of Kabengele’s Florida State teammates in Terance Mann at number 48. He has great size for a guard and can defend multiple positions, but with the depth on this team, it’s hard to imagine him carving out a consistent role in LA. I expect Mann to spend a good portion of this season in the G League.
Offseason Grade: A+++ | Predicted Western Conference Ranking: 1
The Clippers very well may have acquired the two best players from last season (ok fine, Giannis was the best, but you get the point). An A+ seemed like too low of a grade for the offseason LA just had, so I gave them some extra credit. This doesn't guarantee that they will win the West, which will be uber competitive as always, but I would sharpie them in to reach the Western Conference Finals right now.
Teams only dream of the type of offseason the Clipper’s just had. Now it's on this team to go out and prove they are worth the hype.
Graduate of Loyola Maryland and die hard Boston sports fan. "I rub it in pretty good when I win" - Tom Brady