Tobias Harris drops 24 points in his Clippers debut
When the Los Angeles Clippers traded away face of the franchise Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and a future first and second rounder, it looked like neither team particularly won the trade. After all, the Pistons were receiving an injury prone star and some backup big men while Los Angeles received two good players, an average backup and relatively useless picks.
After Griffin made a win in his debut for the Piston it looked as if a glimmer of hope was shining in Detroit. Los Angeles had yet to play a game with their newly acquired assets, but they were very much hoping the same.
In the incredibly short amount of time Bradley, Harris and Marjanovic had been in LA, there had only been one real practice. NBA playbook are full of screens, schemes and packages that no player can learn in a singular dry run in the day before a game.
Although they’d had little time to mesh before Saturday’s game, the remaining Clippers and their new teammates fit together like complementary pieces of a perfect puzzle. Newcomer Tobias Harris led the way with 24 points while teammate Danilo Gallinari matched him with 24 points of his own to push the Clippers past the Chicago Bulls 113-103 .
Griffin was gone and so was the continuity, yet in the Clippers’ first game together, they led a fast-paced offense that scored a season-high 33 fast-break points. They were far from perfect on the defensive end, allowing 103 points to a struggling Bulls team, but they got the job done and started a new era of Clippers basketball out with a bang.
In odd coincidence, Blake Griffin also scored 24 and went home with a W in his debut for the Pistons. Both teams have started with a win without their former players, but both team have a very long way to go before their finished wheeling, dealing and rebuilding.
Bradley, Harris and Marjanovic shouldn’t get too used to their new teammates faces as it’s rumored the Clippers are looking to host an all out fire sale of their current roster. DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams are almost definitely on their way out before the trade deadline, and aside from a few young pieces, it looks like no one on Los Angeles’ roster is untouchable.
It’s going to be a long year of rebuilding for the Clippers franchise, but in the NBA, being good and not great is worse than being bad. At least when you lost you can hope for the lottery to bring you a savior. When you’re good, you lose early in the playoffs and gain nothing to show for it.
Who knows what the Clippers will look like a year from now, just don’t bet on seeing the usual suspects. Moving on from star players is hard, but it has to be done.
When one star leaves, it almost always clears the way for a new one to be born. We can’t be sure that Los Angeles has one such player on their roster, but now would be as good a time as ever to figure it out.