The Los Angeles Clippers are seemingly trying to compete this season despite a stacked conference and the possibility of losing a draft pick.
The Los Angeles Clippers may be in a state of “rebuilding” according to those around the league, but the team is apparently dead set on competing this season. Even though they will have to convey their 2019 first round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies should it fall outside of the top-14, competing is the right choice.
Dan Woike of the LA Times breaks down the logic of the team trying to compete:
Perhaps the Clippers believe a playoff berth would be more attractive to a player like San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler or Boston’s Kyrie Irving, than another young player on the roster…
He continues on to say that the team, while having good intentions, probably won’t pull off a winning record.
Their intentions, though, might not be good enough. The Clippers will be fighting with Denver, the LeBron James-led Lakers, Dallas and a healthier Memphis to crack the top eight in the West.
Dan ends the article with the thought that the team trying to compete and falling short is probably for the best, since they will miss the playoffs and hang onto their pick.
He’s likely not wrong here, but that doesn’t mean the team shouldn’t try.
Fight for the future
By competing, the Clippers are going to look more attractive to free agents. Dan hits the nail on the head when he mentions Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving. Who wants to join a team that was just floundering?
Okay, fine. *Other than LeBron, who wants to join a team that was just floundering?
The Clippers do have some allure. No, they aren’t as historic as the Lakers, but they still are in a popular city, have a coach loved by players and will have max contract room.
Playing to compete is the next logical step. If they can show that the pieces they have can even contend for a playoff spot, free agents might see this and assume they are the missing piece. They might also fall in love with the role players we possess. Lou Williams is locked up for a couple more years. Tobias Harris and Patrick Beverley can be re-signed. There are ways to keep key guys and still bring in a star in 2019.
Yes, it’s a bold strategy and first round picks are definitely valuable, but you ask any NBA executive and I bet they would all rather have a chance at star level talent over some uncertain draft pick.
Compete now. Prove you have almost what it takes. Get a star. It’s worth the risk.