WOW. It’s been a crazy past few days for Clipper fans. On Thursday night, the Clippers took on the Lakers in the first battle of LA in the Crypt (Crypto.com Arena). I was lucky enough to attend this absolutely ridiculous game and watch the madness in person. Quick shoutout to Cast and Crew for having me in their box. In the final minute of the game, the Lakers and Clippers exchanged punches, setting a record for the most lead-changing field goals made in the final 60 seconds. I may as well have been doing sprints the way my heart was racing. After a demoralizing Anthony Davis lob with about 12 seconds remaining, Reggie Jackson literally skipped his way to the other side of the court, attacking Austin Reaves, and spinning around Russell Westbrook to secure the win. This win gives the Clippers a 30-7 record against the Lakers in the last ten years. As I mentioned before: Madness.
Not even 24 hours later, Woj reported the news. The first trade of the season had been made and it was the Clippers getting involved this time. The Clippers dealt away Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson, and a future 2nd round pick to the Portland Trailblazers for Robert Covington and Norman Powell. At first glance, this deal feels like a robbery for the Clippers. At second glance… it still looks incredible. The Clippers give up essentially none of their core rotational guys other than Bledsoe, who was serving as a bulldozer of a backup point guard. While giving up nothing too important they bring in Norman Powell, an extremely underrated and border-line elite wing who’s averaging 18 ppg this year on 45.6% shooting and 40.6% from 3. They also get a 3-and-D dynamic forward in Robert Covington who is an elite off-ball defender with active hands and a nice stroke from downtown. Not only does this trade help the Clippers in the short-run as they compete for a playoff spot without Kawhi and PG for the foreseeable future, but it also helps them in the long-run by adding an offensive threat in Powell who can compliment Kawhi and PG by scoring on all 3 levels.
I want to take a second to address the power of false narratives. Ever since the bubble failure, NBA analysts have been stopping at nothing to let the Clippers know that they need a “playmaking point guard.” This caused them to lose one of their most beloved players in Lou Williams in a trade for Rajon Rondo. This addition of “pure playmaker” made a negligible difference. What the Clippers do need is wings. They need guys who can shoot and defend. They need guys who can make Kawhi and PG’s job a lot easier because when the playoffs start, that’s who all the plays run through. I truly believe that the addition of Powell was an absolute STEAL considering how perfectly he will fit as well as the fact that he’s on the first year of a five year deal. The current Clips roster… Kawhi (6’7″), PG (6’9″), Marcus Morris (6’8″), Robert Covington (6’8″), Coffey (6’7″), Nico Batum (6’8″), and Terrence Mann (6’5″), Norman Powell (6’4″). The amount of depth at the wing position is astounding. Come playoff time, that’s a scary sight to see. The Clippers front office deserves their flowers and then some because they are always working and you never know what they might do next…
~Michael Bannerman (insta: @mab__44 // twitter: @mabannerman44)