Despite having been declared out of the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes, the Los Angeles Clippers managed not only to bring in Board Man on a four-year, $142 million deal, but also swung a trade for Paul George at the expense of two starters and a frankly stunning shipment of draft picks. With the Clippers geared up to win now, their starting five is going to look a lot different next year.
1. PG: Patrick Beverley
A junkyard dog who chews on thumbtacks, Beverley is as pestilent and tough a man defender as there is in the league for a point guard. With Shai Gilegeous-Alexander headed to Oklahoma City in the George trade and 2018 No. 13 overall pick Jerome Robinson more of a shooting guard than a natural point guard, Beverley is the choice to start on what should be a very deep Clippers team.
2. SG: Landry Shamet
Despite the fact that the Clippers essentially gave the Thunder their entire draft for seven years and a promising young guard, Jerry West chose to hold on to Shamet, which should speak volumes about how the organization values him. After averaging 10.9 points per game following his arrival in LA in the Tobias Harris deal, Shamet figures to keep his starting spot in this revamped Clippers lineup.
3. SF: Paul George
The Palmdale native and six-time All-Star was coming off of the best season of his career in which he put up averages of 28.0 points, 8.2 boards, 4.1 assists, and a league-best 2.2 steals per game. George has the size to play the 4 in a small lineup or as a 2 and knock down threes all night long. Doc Rivers should have some fun figuring out creative lineups in which to deploy his newest star.
4. PF: Kawhi Leonard
In Toronto's playoff run last year, we saw Kawhi run point and play as a small ball 4 down low. While there could be some early friction between Leonard and George as two superstars who both play the same position figure out how to co-exist, Kawhi is smart and talented enough to figure it out quickly and slide into a role that will keep both him and PG-13 happy and productive. Watching him and George in the same offense will be a form of modern art.
5. C: Montrezl Harrell
With Ivica Zubac still in restricted free agent limbo, Harrell will likely need to move off of his bench role and take the No. 5 spot down low. With 16.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game coupled with his ferocious intensity, Harrell should have no problem logging the extra minutes against the seven-footers of the world. Given how fast the Kawhi-PG-Doc Rivers Clippers could play, a rim-runner like Harrell is an ideal center.