The Clippers are officially guaranteed eight more games this season, as well as a first-round playoff series. The modified postseason format officially clinched a playoff spot for this team, but that was never in doubt, so we’ll skip the celebration.
Instead, this is a chance to think about what questions were left unanswered when the NBA shut down back in March. Today’s topic: Which Clipper has the most left to prove this season?
Montrezl Harrell seems like the obvious answer. As an unrestricted free agent, he is playing for his next contract, and he stands to make more in the 2020-21 season than he has in his entire playing career to this point. Harrell has already proven his market value as the Sixth Man of the Year favorite — he is an increasingly dominant offensive force who has made significant strides on the defensive end — but whether he is a player who can contribute meaningfully deep in the playoffs is a different question.
As Draymond Green likes to say, there are 82-game players and there are 16-game players. This is Harrell’s chance to demonstrate that he belongs in the latter category. If he isn’t, that will change the way the Clippers approach the offseason.
Some other players on the margins also have something to prove. JaMychal Green could re-enter free agency with a strong postseason, and veterans Reggie Jackson and Patrick Patterson could show what they have left in the tank heading into their next contracts. It seems like Marcus Morris Sr. is guaranteed to come back to the Clippers considering they surrendered a first-round pick to acquire him and have few means to replace him, so there may not be a ton at stake for him.
Who do you think has the most on the line when the season returns? Let us know in the comments.
On to the links...
- An ESPN roundtable thinks the Clippers benefit most in terms of title odds from the Orlando format.
- Kirk Goldsberry is most excited to see Patrick Beverley when the Clippers start playing again.
- How Kawhi Leonard has kept the mid-range game alive.
- The league is still working through the details of how teams can fill their empty roster spots, or potentially sign additional players, for the remainder of the season. The Clippers currently have Joakim Noah as their 15th man on the longest 10-day contract in NBA history, but they could have an opening once that deal expires.
- Former Clippers J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford spoke about police brutality and athlete activism in the wake of George Floyd’s death.