Dazzled by stars
Anxiety makes poor strategy for the Clippers
BY HENRY ABBOTT
Early in the fourth quarter that ended the Clippers’ title hopes, Jeff Van Gundy declared that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have “got to make it happen.” There are many players on the Clippers’ roster. This was a coach’s assertion that it would be a tactical error for the ball to find the Clippers’ less famous players like Marcus Morris Sr., Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, JaMychal Green, or Patrick Beverley (or Ivica Zubac, who was plastered to the bench anyway).
This kind of thinking echoes how the Clippers were constructed. To secure Kawhi, they traded away seven-to-nine valuable or potentially valuable players for Paul George. This is one of the NBA’s most dramatic, all-in bets on famous players above all else. Those seven-to-nine traded players were mostly first-round draft picks … a lot of seventh and 14th picks don’t even make the league, some become mere role players, maybe none will be a star. Their collective value is hard to measure. So teams gamble that if t…
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