Are the LA Clippers in the title picture after trading for James Harden?
The Clippers instantly improved their roster. They acquired two potential starters for four role players. Robert Covington was starting in LA, but he was out of the rotation for much of last season. Nicolas Batum is a solid veteran, but can only play limited minutes at this stage. Marcus Morris Sr. was not even with the team, and Keyon Martin Jr. was a total flier for LA.
James Harden is still one of the best offensive creators in the world. He averaged 21.0 points, 10.7 assists, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.2 steals in 36.8 minutes per game last season. He led the league in assists per game and helped the 76ers reach the second round of the playoffs.
The Clippers were the only team interested for a reason. Harden wants to dominate the ball, and his playoff meltdowns are well-documented. LA went virtually all-in to acquire James Harden and could look foolish in the postseason.
Clippers grade: B+
The LA Clippers upgraded their roster. James Harden will be their starting point guard and a key contributor. P.J. Tucker is still an elite defender, but his offensive game is lacking. The Clippers have a better shot to win it all but are far from title favorites. The Nuggets and Suns are still ahead of them in the Western Conference, and Milwaukee and Boston both believe they have enough to win it all.
LA needs to prove Harden fits. Can the newest Big 3 stay healthy and win a lot of games? How do they fare in the playoffs? Stay tuned to find out.