For years, the Los Angeles Clippers have been the laughing stock of Los Angeles basketball. They had a big market, but the organization was consistently a mess. They drafted the wrong players, hired the wrong coaches, and were always in the Lakers’ shadow.
But the Lob City Era and the signings of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have improved their stock dramatically over the past few seasons. But that doesn’t mean they have been perfect either. The Clippers have made some key draft mistakes since the 2010 NBA Draft, and they probably would’ve had an NBA title or two had they got it right.
Here are the starting five of the Clippers’ draft mistakes since 2010.
Point Guard: James Harden
2019 NBA Draft
Blake Griffin (No. 1 Pick) over James Harden (No. 3 Pick)
Blake Griffin was a great player for the Clippers franchise, and his high-flying style of play brought Lob City to its peak. But Griffin isn’t and will never be James Harden. Harden is a 3-time scoring champion and former MVP who has been the best shooting guard in the NBA since he arrived to the Rockets.
Had the Clippers drafted James Harden, they would have had a franchise player who would later develop into one of the top-5 players in the world. Griffin wasn’t a bad draft choice by any means, but Harden is a game-changer.
Shooting Guard: Paul George
2010 NBA Draft
Al-Farouq Amin (No. 8 Pick) over Paul George (No. 10 Pick)
The Clippers had a shot at Paul George, a versatile forward, but they chose another forward instead. Aminu was a serviceable role player for the Clippers but he never developed into anything more than that. Paul George, since he became an All-Star, has been a great player.
George is a 7-time All-Star, 4-time All-Defensive Team performer, and one of the best defensive players in the league. George and Harden would form an incredible backcourt that is championship material, and Los Angeles would have another team to compete with the Lakers as the best in the West.
Small Forward: Michael Porter Jr.
2018 NBA Draft
Miles Bridges (No. 12 Pick) over Michael Porter Jr. (No. 14 Pick)
The Clippers missed the boat on Michael Porter Jr, and so did a lot of teams. Porter Jr has concerns about his back injuries, and the Clippers did not want to risk their 12th pick on a potential star. That was straight foolish.
Porter Jr has yet to reach anywhere close to his potential, but he has made vast improvements. The young forward is averaging 14.3 PPG and 6.5 RPG for the Nuggets this season, and he would have been a great fit alongside Harden and George in the backcourt.
Power Forward: Pascal Siakam
2016 NBA Draft
Brice Johnson (No. 25 Pick) over Pascal Siakam (No. 27 Pick)
The Clippers drafted Brice Johnson, a power forward who hasn’t played an NBA game since 2018, over an All-Star in Pascal Siakam. Nobody saw Siakam developing into the player he is today, but the Clippers still got this very wrong.
Johnson averaged a career 2.2 PPG, while Siakam already has an NBA title and an All-NBA Team selection in his young career. The Clippers would have had 4 guys who could play multiple positions in the lineup, and Siakam would form a dominant partnership with one other talented big man.
Center: Rudy Gobert
2013 NBA Draft
Reggie Bullock (No. 25 Pick) over Rudy Gobert (No. 27 Pick)
Boy did the Clippers get this one all the way wrong. Bullock is a three-point shooter who shoots a career 38.3% from three, but he clearly isn’t a dominant player like Rudy Gobert. Gobert is a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year Award winner, a 2-time All-Star, and a 3-time Blocks Champion at only 28 years of age.
The Clippers had a chance on a dominant defensive lineup with the likes of George, Siakam, and Gobert and 2 offensive stars in Harden and Porter Jr. With Harden at the point and multiple forwards who play on both ends of the floor, the Clippers would have had a championship roster that would reign supreme in the NBA.
Credit for idea: NBA Debates
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