3. DeMar DeRozan
In a lot of ways, DeMar DeRozan could be seen as similar to James Harden at this point in both their careers. While both used to be among the top scorers in the game, they have each taken something of a step back with increased age and learned the value of good playmaking.
One could make an argument that each brings a similar amount of impact to whatever team they play on in 2023. But one particular factor gives DeRozan a slight edge: his off-court value.
Whereas James Harden has now forced his way out of three teams in the last three years, DeRozan has embraced whatever opportunities have come his way, whether favorable or not. In 2018, he was traded from Toronto to San Antonio after being told he was untouchable in trade talks.
But despite being in a situation he did not prefer, DeRozan still went to work and improved his game. He put up more assists per game during his three years with the Spurs than in any other three-season stretch of his career.
While DeMar DeRozan may not be much of a three-point shooting threat, his no-nonsense approach runs counter to James Harden’s history over these last several years. Time will tell, but the Clippers may end up wishing they had pursued DeRozan instead.