Clippers

Clippers’ Future is Gleaming

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In the wee hours of last Wednesday morning, NBA fans were woken up to a trade involving the Clippers and 76ers. While it was not a surprise due to the fact that it was a day before the trade deadline, fans were surprised to see which players were involved.

ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that Los Angeles Clippers forward Tobias Harris was being sent to the Philadelphia 76ers. Harris, along with Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott were shipped to the City of Brotherly Love.

The Clippers received Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala and four draft picks in return. Two of the picks being first rounders (Philadelphia’s 2020 pick, Miami’s 2021 pick) and two second rounders in 2021 and 2023. After sitting down and looking at everything involved, it was a win-win trade for both teams. The Sixers now are pushing for a NBA Championship this season and beyond, while the Clippers are now focusing on the offseason and future.

This was not the final trade the Clips made however. After sending Avery Bradley to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Clippers decided to make an in-state trade. Young Lakers center Ivica Zubac and forward Michael Beasley were sent to the Clippers for center Mike Muscala.  Looking at the assets the Clippers got, their already bright future is now gleaming. Let’s delve into the four key assets the Clippers obtained.

Landry Shamet

As the Sixers searched for some backcourt shooting, Shamet was their man. During the 2018 NBA Draft, Shamet came of the board to Philadelphia 26th overall. Entering into the season with expectations of producing for a playoff team, Shamet lived up to them. Averaging 8.3 points (44% FG, 40% 3Pt), he became a staple in the Sixers rotation. Shamet shot the ball well for a team looking for a deep-range weapon. Now that he is heading to the West Coast, his stats could continue to see an increase. With another rookie in the backcourt in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Shamet could nicely play the 2 guard alongside SGA. Furthermore, with Avery Bradley now headed to Memphis, Shamet could receive his minutes.

2020 Protected First Round Pick

While this is not the best draft pick out of the group, it certainly is not the worst. This pick also comes with lottery protections from 2020-22, however. If not conveyed during that time, it then becomes a second rounder in 2023 and 2024. While the pick is set to be near the bottom of the first round due to Philadelphia being a great team, it’s still valuable. There have been many talented players taken in the bottom half of the first round, especially recently. From Pascal Siakam and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to Kyle Kuzma and OG Anunoby, the late first rounders hold plenty of value.

2021 First Round Pick (via Miami)

Now here is the real kicker! What is quite arguably the most wanted pick in the league, the Clippers obtained the Heat’s 2021 first round pick. Philadelphia first got this pick from the Phoenix Suns in the Zhaire Smith-Mikal Bridges trade during the 2018 NBA Draft. What makes this pick so valuable and high in demand is the state of Miami’s roster. After this season, their key players will be Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, and by the time 2021 rolls around, both will be into their 30’s. For a team that does not have a set future, this pick was a must-have and certainly looks like it will be near the top of the draft.

Ivica Zubac

In what was one of the most lopsided trades of the deadline this year, trading Muscala for Zubac and Beasley (who was subsequently waived) was a shocking move. While Muscala is a center who can shoot the three — connecting at a 34% clip — giving up Zubac is extremely pricey for the Lakers. Turning 22 in March, Zubac is so far having the best season of his young career. Putting up 8.5 points and 4.9 boards for the #LakeShow. He showed he could be a starting center in the NBA despite the small sample size of starting in 12 games. With no true center in front of him fighting for minutes now (thank you Marcin Gortat!), Zubac is in the perfect situation to continue to develop his game with the Clippers.

Overall Trade Deadline Haul

While most of you are probably asking why I haven’t mentioned the cap flexibility the Clippers have right now, well, there is one reason. Even though the Clippers can have the cap space for two max contracts, there is no guarantee that they will sign a star. Look at the Lakers before they had LeBron. They had a TON of cap space, but were never able to sign a star player. They ended up with the terrible contracts of Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov. And while by no means are draft picks guaranteed to produce NBA stars, the odds of getting a solid player are high. Who knows, maybe Kawhi Leonard does decide to become a Clipper. But the Clippers can look on this trade and be extremely happy with what they got from both the 76ers and Lakers.

Clippers fans can rest easy knowing that their team’s future, and draft haul, is as bright as the LA lights.

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