Handles are a hard skill to quantify. There’s no metric for ankles broken or gasps induced when a player is dribbling the ball. It’s easy to tell if a player has a good or a bad handle, but beyond that, distinguishing is mostly subjective.
A handle can be functional, aesthetically pleasing, or both. Players can be economical with their dribbles or add additional moves for extra flash or flair. In a sense, how they handle the ball is the way players can express themselves on the basketball court.
The Clippers aren’t among the flashier teams in the NBA, falling in line behind their best player, Kawhi Leonard. Leonard’s hands are almost too big for him to be particularly clever with the ball; his handle is more methodical than anything, as he tries to make as few moves as possible to get to his desired spot. Leonard shows up at no. 93 on the NBA Handles Week countdown, but his fairly commonplace crossover is more noteworthy for the time and score, coming in the fourth quarter of an elimination game.
Although Leonard is the only current Clipper to feature on the NBA’s list thus far (the top 20 have yet to be revealed), it’s not immediately clear that he has the best handle on the team. Paul George has a way of making everything he does look smooth, and his ability to maneuver himself into step-back threes is truly special.
The smaller Clippers guards also have remarkable dexterity with their handle. Reggie Jackson has a mean crossover, and Luke Kennard gets creative even with shorter arms. Two of the team’s rookies — Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr. — even showed off some impressive flair during Summer League.
My vote would probably go to George, though there are compelling cases to be made for several others. Who do you think has the best handle on the team?
Which Clipper has the best handle?
This poll is closed
More news for Thursday:
- Jason Preston shared his draft day journey.
- Marc Stein provided more insight into the two-game sets that were a staple of last year’s season and have continued into the 2021-22 schedule.
- Owen Phillips charted some additional schedule trends.
- ICYMI: I went into the curious phenomenon of the Clippers 5-in-7 stretches.
- In non-schedule news, Dan Devine attempted to provide some clarity to the Ben Simmons mess.
- ESPN ranked the WNBA’s best franchises in the league’s 25-year history. The top spot was somewhat surprising.