Behind the glimmering success of the LA Clippers — embellished by the superstar trio of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden — is the steady, stilled production of Norman Powell. It is his offensive production and clutch shot-making that has been the difference maker for the star-studded Los Angeles team.
In the Clippers' win against the Dallas Mavericks last night, Powell was at times the only answer to the home team's scoring runs to end the second and third quarters. The UCLA product finished the game with 21 points and a game-high plus/minus of 16. Coming into this game, he has been averaging 15.8 points on 51.7% field-goal shooting while knocking down the three-ball at a 41.7% clip in December.
The numbers alone, however, don't paint the complete picture of what Powell brings to the team.
Norman Powell is an incredibly valuable player
All Clippers fans should know by now that Powell can go off on any given night. In game three of the first-round matchup against the Phoenix Suns last playoffs, the San Diego native exploded for 42 points on 15-of-23 shooting. His consistent offensive contributions are invaluable to a team that often loses its players to injuries in the postseason.
A big reason why Powell has a proclivity for big scoring nights is his elite shot-creating abilities. Though not the biggest of guards, the veteran is a quick and explosive rim attacker. High-rising floaters, double-clutch layups and poster dunks — when he blows by defenders and gets to the paint, Powell has a deep bag of ways to find the bottom of the net.
The sixth man's knack at attacking the basket is that much more valuable because he's a capable shooter from beyond the arc. While he can sit at a spot for a catch-and-shoot opportunity, he also adeptly uses his dribble to create shots for himself — an ability not many role players possess on a consistent basis.
The cherry on top — Powell doesn't crumble under pressure. If anything, he often finds himself on the floor to close out games as he one of the team's most cold-blooded, clutch scorers.
There's no arguing that the face of the team is split three ways between the Clippers' superstar trio. But the Clippers are not the same team without the contributions of Powell.
Give the man his flowers.