The Los Angeles Clippers could stand to beef up the bench just a bit this offseason, as an impending future without Kawhi Leonard in 2021-22 could weigh on their contending potential like an anchor. Former Denver Nuggets power forward Paul Millsap looked like a perfect cheap veteran supplement.
Millsap might not be the low-post force he was with Utah or the All-Star from his Atlanta days, but he can still bruise his way to the basket for some easy looks. With Leonard, who played 60% of his minutes at power forward last year, in line to miss a large chunk of the season, Millsap could’ve been a quality backup for someone like Marcus Morris.
That dream has vanished into thin air, as Millsap has decided to link up with the Nets with the intent of bringing a championship to Brooklyn. While Shams Charania reported that LA was interested in putting Millsap in red, white, and blue, nothing came of it.
The Nets might be able to get some utility out of Millsap’s blend of post finishing and interior defense, but given how the Clippers are set up inside, they should be fine without him despite the loss of Leonard.
Paul Millsap not choosing the Clippers isn’t the end of the world.
Assuming that Serge Ibaka returns to full health and rotates with Ivica Zubac at center, the Clippers will likely lean on Morris at power forward with defensive switchblade Nicolas Batum helping him out as a backup and former Top 10 pick Justise Winslow even deeper on the bench.
If the aim of adding Millsap was to just make sure that power forward is secured, the players they have on the roster right now are perfectly serviceable.
Tyronn Lue showed in the postseason that he is more than willing to unveil an ultra-small lineup with players like Batum at center. While Millsap can certainly shoot, he will likely be rooted to the post given his preferred style of play, and that could limit his chances to get on the floor.
Adding veterans with playoff experience is never a bad idea, but considering that Millsap just had his worst statistical season in over a decade, he wasn’t worth completely turning over the balance sheet for, nor was it worth reinventing the wheel and altering their rotations and style in order to accommodate him.
Millsap can still get rebounds and score in the post, but the Clippers have checked both of those boxes with some of their other role players. Given Lue’s propensity to go small and the depth at that position, the Clippers and their fans shouldn’t stay up at night worrying about the fact Millsap is a Net.