As the NBA trade deadline approaches, teams are rushing to find the ideal partner to improve their rosters. Rebuilding teams are looking to acquire future assets while playoff-caliber teams are hunting for the missing piece to their championship picture.
The Portland Trail Blazers are sending 31-year-old Robert Covington, along with Powell, to the Clippers while receiving rookie Keon Johnson, Eric Bledsoe and Justise Winslow. The deal also involves the Clippers, who are already bargaining with limited future assets, sending a 2025 second-round pick to the Blazers via the Detroit Pistons.
Players like Keon Johnson, Justise Winslow and Eric Bledsoe aren't additions for a championship run. And the fact that Portland is looking for future picks is another indication a rebuild has begun. They are soon going to empty their roster and acquire young players and picks.
Many reports suggest they are building around 22-year-old Anfernee Simons, whose recent emergence has allowed the front office to make this move.
What does the addition of Norman Powell look like for the LA Clippers?
Norman Powell is getting added to the LA Clippers as a legitimate third option to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. He plays both ends of the floor and was averaging 18.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and a steal per game during his time in Portland. He was shooting 40% from beyond the arc on over 5 attempts per game while converting 45% of his shots overall.
However, Norman Powell doesn't comfortably fit in the lineup. He is a 6-foot-3 wing who played shooting guard for most of his career in Toronto. He shifted to the small forward position in Portland to compliment Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Powell is capable of playing point guard from time to time, but it isn't his natural position. And his career average of 1.5 assists shows he isn't comfortable running the offense of an NBA team.
So we can rule out the point guard position in the Clippers lineup because Reggie Jackson is thriving in that role and Powell isn't expected to run the offense. Paul George plays either shooting guard or small forward but mainly the off-guard role whenever Kawhi Leonard is playing.
Leonard plays the small forward role with George playing in the backcourt, so there is very little room to accommodate Powell in the starting lineup.
It doesn't look like Powell was acquired to come off the bench, so the only possible lineup combination is Jackson playing point guard with Powell joining him in the backcourt. George will play small forward again, and Leonard will have to switch to power forward. Leonard has never officially played at the four before, and shifting him there will also reduce the role of players like Serge Ibaka and Nicolas Batum.
Nevertheless, Powell is one of the best players at the wing position. Once the coaching staff figures out the right rotations and lineups, he will certainly boost the LA Clippers' chances of winning. They are hoping to have Leonard and George back near the end of the regular season.
Q. Is Norman Powell a good fit for the LA Clippers lineup?