LA Clippers: Re-grading the Paul George trade 2 years later

It’s been two years since the LA Clippers traded for star SG/SF Paul George.

A majority of fans have been more than pleased by what this trade has brought to our franchise. I have myself.

I understand that the Clippers traded a massive haul to acquire PG13, however the trade for George has proven beneficial to the Clippers up to this point for multiple reasons.

Looking back at these last two years, the LA Clippers deserve an A- for the Paul George trade.

The positives of the LA Clippers trading for Paul George stand out very much.

For starters, he had a truly tremendous regular season this past year for the team. He was an All-Star and All-NBA selection for the Clippers, and did it in spectacular fashion.

He shot a career-high 46.7% from the field, and was 0.1% off from his career-high three-point percentage, which he had in his first season with the Clippers (41.2%).

In the 2020-2021 season, he collected 6.6 rebounds per game after he already had a solid average in the 2019-2020 season at 5.7. He started improving as a passer this past year, dishing out 5.2 assists per contest.

He’s still been elite on the defensive end too, and has averaged 1.3 steals per game in his Clippers career.

Also, it’s worth addressing the naysayers who seem to think that George can’t get it done in the playoffs.

In 2020, George did disappoint in the playoffs. They acted like he was the only Clipper who seemed to shrink in the postseason, which wasn’t true, however he didn’t play as well as we hoped to when we made the trade.

In 2021, however, the naysayers didn’t have as much to say. George went for 26.9 points per game in the playoffs this past year, 9.6 rebounds per game, and 5.4 assists per game to go along with a steal per game and a 44.1 FG%.

Now, PG did have some hiccups in some clutch moments, which those same naysayers ran with. He missed clutch free throws in the Western Conference Finals on multiple occasions. Despite George’s overall numbers looking good, he could have been better.

With all that being said, there’s something that PG also did that isn’t getting the credit it should, and that’s managing the weight that was poured on his shoulders.

When Kawhi Leonard went down after a tied 2-2 Western Conference Semifinal series, PG was tasked with carrying this team without any other stars at his disposal. He turned his game up even more, going for 29.6 points, 11 boards, 5.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game in the eight games without Leonard in the playoffs. He still shot 43.8% from the field.

While George may have had inefficient Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals, and while he may have missed some important free throws, it’s worth noting what he did do. He did do impressive things without Leonard in the playoffs.

So, maybe George hasn’t been perfect in the postseason with the Clippers these last two years, but he’s had too many great moments to claim that the trade wasn’t worth it. Especially when factoring in the type of player he’s been in the regular season.

And yes, the Clippers had championship aspirations when they traded for George to put him and Kawhi together. Yes, the team disappointed in 2019-2020, but they still improved from where they were the year before. And they obviously improved on that this year.

The narrative of the Clippers always disappointing is flawed. The team has become better in each year while George has been here.

Sure, we want a championship, and we didn’t want the performance George gave us in the 2020 postseason. Okay, so the trade doesn’t get an A+. It does, however, deserve an A- due to the strides that the organization has made with George.

Also, we’re only through Year 2, so there’s plenty of time to achieve our high aspirations from this team.

I get that we traded some good players to get George. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a good player, and has gotten better since we traded him. Danilo Gallinari is also a good player.

However, the Thunder didn’t win a playoff series in 2020, and were one of the worst teams in basketball in 2021. They certainly haven’t benefitted from the trade, where as we have.

They took five first round picks in total from us, which is a lot, but I don’t know that all those picks are going to be able to fix the mess that the Thunder are right now.

Not having picks has had its affect on our team, however we proved this year in the draft that we know how to trade back in and get good value like we did with Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr.

Our problem of not having many draft picks can be fixed. We don’t know that the draft picks we sent over to the Thunder are going to end up changing their franchise.

Of course it would be nice to have SGA and those draft picks. Again, we did have to give up a lot for PG and that part wasn’t fun. The trade wasn’t perfect, but we still benefitted from it for sure.

While it isn’t an A+ deal, it’s still an A- deal. I’d absolutely do it again if we could, and I can’t wait for Playoff P to continue to prove me right.