The Clippers went all in on a championship this season. They traded away their lottery pick point guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a seasoned vet in Danilo Gallinari, and five 1st Round draft picks to acquire Paul George. This move also made it possible to land superstar Kawhi Leonard. They made a number of other acquisitions, including trading for Marcus Morris and signing Reggie Jackson and Joakim Noah midseason. On paper, this team may have had the most depth on a single roster. Maybe ever.
Unfortunately, the season ended in disappoint. The team gave up a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. A plethora of factors played into the unfortunate end to the Clippers season including questionable coaching decisions, inadequate play from role players, and an inexcusable Game 7 performance from both George and Leonard. However, we’re not here to pinpoint what exactly went wrong. Instead we took a look at the future. What pieces could the Clippers potentially add in the offseason to compete for the championship next season?
Clippers Depth Chart
The Clippers have the best wing duo in the league on lock for at least one more season, as well as a decent amount of depth behind them. Every other position however is in for a few decisions this offseason. It’s possible the Clippers resign players like Marcus Morris and Montrezl Harrell, but for the sake of this article we are taking the depth chart for what it is without the current free agents included.
Clippers’ 2020 free agents this season include: Reggie Jackson (PG, unrestricted), Marcus Morris (PF, unrestricted), Patrick Patterson (PF, unrestricted), Johnathan Motley (PF, Restricted), Montrezl Harrell (C, unrestricted).
The Clippers’ current depth chart is as follows:
|Pos||First Team||Second Team||Third Team|
|PG||Patrick Beverley||Terance Mann|
|SG||Paul George||Lou Williams||Amir Coffey|
|SF||Kawhi Leonard||Landry Shamet||Rodney McGruder|
|PF||JaMychal Green (Plyr Opt)|
|SF||Ivica Zubac||Joakim Noah||Mfiondu Kabengele|
Any point guards signed this offseason would likely come off the bench behind Patrick Beverley and play alongside Lou Williams. They may also be asked to fill in the starting role if Beverley were to go down with injury, as he’s been known to do occasionally.
Top Ten Free Agent Point Guards to Target
Keep in mind, this list is based solely on point guards that are set to be free agents. Any sort of trade or sign-and-trade speculation will be considered in a different article. These players are simply those on the market to be signed this summer.
Other Notable Free Agent Point Guards
#10 Jevon Carter (Restricted FA)
In year two, Carter played a big role in the surprising early success of the Phoenix Suns. He averaged upwards of 16 minutes per game as Ricky Rubio’s backup, scoring 4.9 points on 41.6% FG shooting and a whopping 42.5% from deep.
His overall numbers are not eyepopping, but the leap he took in shooting from year one to year two is intriguing to say the least. Carter’s lack of big numbers may allow a team like the Clippers to sign him for a bargain price. The defensive instincts and grit of the point guard from West Virginia may be the most interesting part of this potential fit. He is capable of holding his own against opposing guards when playing alongside an offensive player like Lou Williams.
#9 Brandon Knight (Unrestricted FA)
The butt-end of many NBA-related memes in recent years, Knight is still a serviceable guard at age 28. He played in 16 games for the Cavaliers this season before being shipped to Detroit where he played nine games. This is a very limited sample size for the would-be 9th year player out of Kentucky. However, during his nine games with Detroit, Knight put up 11.6 PPG and 4.2 APG on 38.8% 3PT shooting. Again, Knight did not see the floor much this season, as has been the case for the past several seasons due to injury issues, but when he is on the court, Knight could be a fantastic bench piece for a contender.
#8 Cameron Payne (Team Option)
The 25-year-old point guard made his season debut for the Phoenix Suns with only eight regular season games left: when the Orlando Bubble began. Despite not being picked up by anyone during the course of the regular season, Payne provided a huge spark for the Suns en route to their 8-0 record in Orlando. He played nearly 23 minutes per game during his eight games in the bubble and averaged 10.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 3.0 APG on incredible shooting splits of 48.5%, 51.7%, and 85.7% from the field, 3PT range, and free throw line respectively.
This is one of the smaller sample sizes you could ask for from a player, but it’s still an incredible feat to shoot upwards of 50% from deep on over 3.5 attempts per game. He also averaged 1.0 SPG. Standing at 6’3, he could prove to be playable alongside the defensive-lacking Lou Williams.
#7 Emmanuel Mudiay (Unrestricted FA)
Mudiay is a 6’3, 23-year-old point guard set to enter his 6th season in the league. He appeared in 54 games with the Utah Jazz this season, his third team in five years. Mudiay has not quit lived up to his hype as the 7th overall pick in the 2015 draft, but he’s still a talented young prospect. Last season he averaged 7.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 2.1 APG in only 15.7 minutes per contest. This is the lowest amount of minutes Mudiay has ever averaged in his young career, but he also put forward his highest ever FG%, 3P%, and Effective FG% of his career. He shot 46.2%, 34.5%, and 50.8% respectively.
At 6’3, Mudiay is relatively tall for his position. He averages 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks per game on his career, decent numbers for a backup point guard. Mudiay would be asked to defend the better backup guard while playing alongside Lou Will. This may turn into an issue for this potential backcourt, but it would be no more of an issue than when Reggie Jackson was Williams’ counterpart. Mudiay’s constant movement and lack of consistency would allow the Clippers to sign him for relatively cheap if they decide to spend their money elsewhere.
#6 Brad Wanamaker (Unrestricted FA)
Wanamaker is in his 2nd year in the league with the Celtics after spending several years in the EuroLeague. Having experience in multiple leagues makes Wanamaker an interesting prospect to say the least. The 6’3 guard has been a vital part of Boston’s playoff run after averaging 6.9 PPG, 2.0 RPG, and 2.5 APG in just over 19 MPG in the regular season. Perhaps most impressively, he was amongst the league leaders in FT% at 92.6%. His experience, length, and consistency make him a great backup point guard option for a championship contender.
#5 Shabazz Napier (Unrestricted FA)
Napier started the season in Minnesota where he played 36 games, averaging 9.6 points, 5.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per contest. During the season, he was traded to the Wizards where he played an additional 20 games, starting 10 of them. In Washington, he upped his point total to 11.6 PPG while also shooting 42.8% from the field and 35.8% from three-point range.
The soon-to-be 29-year-old point guard is set to enter his 7th NBA season on what could very well be his 6th NBA team. His play last season should solidify has place in the league as a legit backup point guard option, but this amount of movement from a young player will not bode well for Napier in terms of contract talks. It may however prove to be a bargain for whichever team he ends up with.
#4 DJ Augustin (Unrestricted FA)
Augustin has been one of the most underrated point guards in the league since he came into the league in 2008. He averages roughly 10 points and 4 assists on his career, with career high averages of 14.4 points and 6.4 assists. He averaged 5.3 assists only two years ago with Orlando. The Magic have been an under the radar playoff contender ever since Augustin joined the squad four years ago. He is more than capable of running an offense and hitting big shots down the stretch of close games. Augustin is one of the better candidates for the backup point guard role considering his ability to step into a leadership role with any unit.
#3 Jeff Teague (Unrestricted FA)
After spending the best years of his career in Atlanta, Teague is still known as a veteran and capable point guard. He started this season in Minnesota where he averaged 13.2 points, 6.1 assists, and 2.6 rebounds in roughly 27.8 minutes per contest. Those are still elite numbers for a back up point guard despite Teague being on the back half of his career.
He was shipped back to Atlanta towards the end of the season where he played spot minutes behind rising star, Trae Young. Teague’s contract expires this year and it would not be surprising to see him search for a new home with a legit contender. This is an ideal candidate for the Clippers considering his ability to be the lead playmaker on a legit offense, even in the event that he has to start in place of an injured Patrick Beverley.
#2 Goran Dragic (Unrestricted FA)
Dragic is easily one of the most underrated players in the NBA. Despite coming off the bench for the majority of the season, 56 of 59 games, Dragic managed to average 16.2 PPG, 5.1 APG, and 3.2 RPG with the Heat this season. He played behind Rookie of the Year candidate Kendrick Nunn, but still logged roughly 28.2 minutes per contest.
In the playoffs, Dragic has shifted to the starting point guard role for Miami while being a steadying factor on both ends of the court. His presence, while impressive on the box score, is not limited to his numbers. He knows how to command an offense as either the starter or backup. Dragic also has experience playing behind one of the greatest point guards of all time, Steve Nash, during his time with Phoenix. That type of knowledge and experience at the point guard position can’t be fabricated. It’s invaluable.
#1 Fred VanVleet (Unrestricted FA)
The 25-year-old combo guard is fresh off of the best season of his career. He had career high averages in all five major stat categories, including 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, and 1.9 steals. This coming off of an incredible performance in the 2019 NBA Finals in which his team won the title. VanVleet is a young, reliable guard still getting better every year. He served as Toronto’s 6th Man during their championship run, proving his capability of serving multiple roles despite starting all 54 games he played for the Raptors this season.
VanVleet is the optimal option to plug into the lineup. If anyone 1-3 is injured, VanVleet is versatile enough to play multiple positions, especially alongside a roster as versatile as the Clippers. He lands at the top of this list as not only a backup point guard, but also a potential 3rd option offensively on a team with two clear stars in Leonard and George.