The Los Angeles Clippers had a disappointing season last year, losing in the second round despite leading 3-1 against the Denver Nuggets in the series. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George could not prevent the choke job from occurring and that has left the Clippers searching for more pieces to add to a very talented roster. More specifically, the Clippers desperately need playmaking.
The Los Angeles Lakers had LeBron James, the best playmaker in the NBA, and also added Dennis Schroder to their roster this offseason. That gives the Lakers 2 great playmakers, while the Clippers have none. By moving on from the likes of Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Mfiondu Kabengele, and Ivica Zubac, they should trade their players for more effective playmakers to assist the ball to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Here are the 3 players the Clippers can acquire to form a very scary Big Three to challenge the Los Angeles Lakers next season.
3. Mike Conley
2019-2020 Statistics: 14.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 37.5% 3-pt FG
Mike Conley had a very poor season last year, barely moving the needle for the Utah Jazz and almost being unplayable at times. He didn’t fit well alongside Donovan Mitchell and that was the main reason he should be moved. His role as a spot-up shooter and secondary playmaker didn’t fit his style, and he is more of a pure point guard by heart. Kawhi Leonard made it known that he wants a point guard, and there are few players better at being a pure point guard than Mike Conley.
Conley had great success with the Memphis Grizzlies as the main ball-handler, and his unselfish play fits well alongside two stars like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Conley is the right point guard for a championship team because he plays at a controlled pace and is very efficient. His career averages of 14.9 PPG and 5.6 APG indicate he is a very good player and is just what the Clippers need to get to the next level.
2. John Wall
2018-2019 Statistics: 20.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 8.7 APG, 1.5 SPG, 30.2% 3-pt FG
John Wall basically hasn’t played in 2 years, and his contract is arguably the worst in the NBA because of that. But John Wall, if healthy and in shape, is an All-NBA talent. His career averages of 19.0 PPG and 9.2 APG is an indication of what he can bring to the Clippers, as a primary playmaker and ball-handler. Wall is an unselfish player who wants to assist the ball and play on a great team, so his potential of returning into an All-Star is very high.
The Clippers lost Montrezl Harrell but gained Serge Ibaka, so their roster is very well still intact from last season. Adding an All-Star like Wall would give a special Big Three which they did not have last season and also add another threat to help them in the Playoffs. At this point, the Clippers need to fight fire with fire against the Lakers who have improved in every area of the floor, and adding an All-Star talent like John Wall does just that.
1. Russell Westbrook
2019-2020 Statistics: 27.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 7.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 25.8% 3-pt FG
This would be quite a trade for the Los Angeles Clippers. The franchise wanted Chris Paul because he is the purest point guard that was on the trade market. The Clippers need leadership and CP3 would have brought that immediately. But with Russell Westbrook, the Clippers would acquire an entirely different level of on-court dominance. No point guard in the NBA stuffs the stat sheet like Westbrook, and his role as the 3rd scorer and primary playmaker would allow him to flourish tremendously.
Westbrook will push the pace tremendously for the Clippers and he will score or create for Leonard and George every time down the court. A lineup with Westbrook, George, Kawhi, and Ibaka is very scary on both ends of the floor and there is no doubt the Clippers will challenge the Lakers for an NBA Finals appearance next year due to pure talent alone. The Clippers need a ball-handler and playmaker, and if they can convince Houston to take their trade package, they are acquiring one of the best players in the league to completely make their offense unstoppable.