Fake trade season is fun, and emotions have run high after the collapse. But we shouldn’t expect the LA Clippers to trade Paul George.
Almost immediately after the LA Clippers lost in the Conference Semis to the Denver Nuggets, the idea of trading Paul George was everywhere on Twitter. After his performance in the bubble, some folks wanted to see a change made.
And to an extent, I get it. We were all mad at how the season ended, and we’re naturally going to want to make a big change. Something about trying the same thing and expecting different results being bad, right? You combine that with how much fun it is to play around on the trade machine, and the idea of trading PG was bound to be common.
But the team has made their big change. They gave Doc Rivers exactly one year with these Clippers and then fired him when he didn’t get the job done. And they hired Ty Lue, in part because of the continuity it would give the roster while still bringing in a new system. It seems unlikely that they would then wreck that continuity by trading one of their two stars.
In that vein, let’s check out a few reasons that Paul George shouldn’t, and most likely won’t, be traded in the offseason.
LA Clippers’ Reason to Not Trade Paul George: He’s Still a Star
Yes, Paul George is still a star. He’s a 6’8 wing who can attack the rim and shoot threes at 41% while providing good defense. By any advanced metric you want to use – BPM, VORP, PER, WS/48, any of it, Paul George rates as very very good.
By more traditional stats, he put up 21.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists, to go along with 1.4 steals in only 29.6 minutes per game while shooting an absurd 41.2% from three. Regular season Paul George was every bit the baller that he was last year in OKC.
With Kawhi Leonard‘s iso game being primarily post and midrange (50.5% of his shot attempts came from inside the three point line but outside the restricted area), having a running-mate who is a sniper from three who can also slash to the rim is invaluable.
On defense, PG is one of the absolute best in the league at getting around screens and staying on his man. He can take the job of primary iso defender from Kawhi on nights where Kawhi’s got to expend more energy on the offensive side.
If the Clippers can get themselves a playmaker, then Paul George is stylistically one of the best guys you could ask for to put beside Leonard. That’s why he was a guy Kawhi wanted to play with, and why the team won’t seriously entertain moving him.
PG is motivated to prove the naysayers wrong next season, and I, for one, totally believe him. I think more time to rehab his shoulders and an offseason to focus on a new system is going to lead to a Paul George who is ready to set the league on fire.