Clippers Trades Make Clippers Stronger
Beat out Lakers to acquire Marcus Morris
February 13, 2020
The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and the clear winner is the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers acquired forward Marcus Morris from the New York Knicks as part of a three-team trade. The Clippers sent forward Moe Harkless and a 2020 first-round pick to the Knicks for Morris. They also traded guard Jerome Robinson, a first-round pick in 2018, to the Wizards in exchange for guard Isaiah Thomas. The Knicks also received 2nd round picks from the Clippers and Wizards.
The acquisition of Morris was a significant addition to the Clippers and to their hopes of winning their first NBA championship. Morris was leading the Knicks in scoring at 19.6 points per game and in three-point field goal percentage at 43.9%. He can play either forward position and is another player with experience defending LeBron James in playoff games.
The addition of Morris gives the Clippers five players currently averaging 19 points or more per game. Kawhi Leonard is averaging 27.1 points per game. Paul George is averaging 22.6 points per game; Lou Williams is averaging 19.3 points per game and Montrezl Harrel is averaging 19.0 points per game. Morris add another good shooter to a team with some terrific shooting.
The Clippers have three of the best closers in the game in Leonard, Williams and George. All three are among the best free throw shooters in the NBA. James, who is the best closer on the Lakers, is a 69% free throw shooter.
The Lakers were also trying to acquire Morris, but just did not have the assets to make an attractive offer to the Knicks. The Knicks wanted Kyle Kuzma and the Lakers were not willing to move him. The Lakers did not have anything else that the Knicks wanted. The Lakers did not add anyone else before the trade deadline and will basically go to war with the lineup they have today, which has led to the best record in the Western Conference.
But is that enough? The Clippers are 2-0 versus the Lakers in head-to-head matchups. The Clippers just look to be a deeper team than the Lakers. The Lakers are a two man show, Anthony Davis and James. Davis leads the Lakers in scoring, rebounding, steals, blocked shots and free throw shooting. He is doing it all. James is leading the NBA in assists at 10.7 per game, while averaging 24.8 points per game and grabbing 7.7 rebounds per game. These two guys should both be first team All-NBA.
The problem is, if you take Davis and James off the floor, where is the scoring coming from? Kuzma is the only other Laker in double figures at 12.8 points per game. On the Clippers, if they take Leonard and George off the floor, they still have Williams, Morris and Harrell. They have guard Landry Shamet, who averages 10.1 points per game and defensive specialist Patrick Beverly, a first team All-NBA defensive selection in 2017.
The Clippers just have a better overall team at this point than the Lakers. The coaching experience also favors the Clippers, with head coach Doc Rivers having led the Boston Celtics to a championship in 2008 and lead assistant coach Tyronn Lue having led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a championship in 2016. Once the playoffs start, anything can happen, but the Clippers have a championship look to their roster.