3 LA Clippers players who must step up to replace Paul George on offense

The LA Clippers have lost Paul George to free agency. How can they possibly replace his value on the offensive end of the floor with internal options?
Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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The LA Clippers began the 2024 NBA offseason with the hope of keeping its core together. Results have been plagued by injuries during the current era, but the franchise's first-ever appearance in the Western Conference Finals continued to serve as a beacon of hope for this star-studded team.

Unfortunately, one of the franchise players has opted to move on from the Clippers and sign a multi-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers: Paul George.

George, a six-time All-NBA honoree, leaves LA after spending five seasons with the franchise. This past season, on a per-game basis, he was second on the team in points and steals, third in rebounds, fourth in assists, and first in three-point field goals made.

That production leaves a massive hole for the Clippers to fill, and there's no guarantee that a trade can be executed to address the void that's been left behind.

As such, the burden to replace George's value will likely fall to the current players on the roster. Derrick Jones Jr. will tasked with providing similar defensive consistency, but the questions on offense are perhaps more concerning.

Kawhi Leonard will obviously need to step up as the franchise player, but who else might need to produce massive 2024-25 seasons to help the Clippers build on a 51-win campaign in 2023-24?

James Harden

Replacing George outright will be an impossible task, but that doesn't mean the Clippers can't make changes to maintain a high level of play. That all begins with James Harden, who will likely be asked to take on a larger role offensively.

It'd be irresponsible to put the same burden on Harden that he once shouldered with the Houston Rockets, but he'll likely need to call back to those days to some degree in 2024-25.

Harden will turn 35 in August and should thus be utilized in a more specialized role moving forward. He's comfortable taking on the challenge of facilitating, however, and remains one of the most gifted scorers in the NBA.

If the Clippers are able to create a role for Harden that sees an increase in opportunities, but still paces him through the regular season, it would reinvent the team—perhaps for the better.

With Harden facilitating more and having more of a green light as a scorer, the Clippers can put constant pressure on opposing defenses. This should open up more catch-and-shoot opportunities, as well as an influx of isolation plays for Harden and others that are tougher to come by with a three-headed monster.

Leonard obviously needs to play at an MVP-caliber level, but Harden stepping up as a scorer and facilitator would change the tone of the Clippers' 2024-25 season.