Los Angeles Clippers: The draft, not superstars, should be the concern

The Los Angeles Clippers two first-round picks in the 2018 NBA Draft are much more important to focus on than any potentially interested superstar.

Los Angeles is naturally going to be a potential destination for the biggest names in sports. The bright lights, the path to Hollywood, the millions that can be made in outside opportunities. It is understandable why LA is so desirable. However, the Los Angeles Clippers should not feed any potential superstars’ desires.

The Clippers and the Lakers have both been involved in talks around the stars that are available this offseason.

For the Lakers, the most likely star to join the team is Paul George, who has been rumored and connected to the Lakers for over a year now.

For the Clippers, although it is nowhere close to as strong as the Paul George connection, Kawhi Leonard seems to be the most likely star candidate.

Both teams also could be potential suitors to LeBron James. Heck, the Los Angeles Clippers could end up with Paul George and the Los Angeles Lakers could end up with Kawhi Leonard. They are both LA natives, after all.

As polarizing and interesting as that is for the Clippers, that should not be the team’s concern moving forward. Quite frankly, the only concern the team should have right now is around the two lottery picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Leave the superstar chasing to the Lakers.

It is just going to be far too difficult for the Clippers to make any significant play for a star this season. The front office’s hands are tied with the salary cap and would require a roster overhaul to make space; something that is not easy with the current contracts on the payroll.

It would take giving up draft picks and young assets to get a team to take on extra salaries. And even then, the Clippers likely would make minimal progress towards making space. That is why Leonard has been the most talked about target for the Clippers. That is still a long shot.

Instead, the Los Angeles Clippers should be focusing on the rare opportunity the team has. LA has two picks in the lottery. The Clippers have not had a pick lower than 25th overall since selecting Al-Farouq Aminu with the eighth overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

The 2018 NBA Draft class presents an interesting opportunity for the Los Angeles Clippers. Since the draft is loaded with talent early on, there are going to be risks available for the Clippers to take 12 or 13 picks into the draft.

And while these risks have the largest gap between floor and ceiling, they are risks the Clippers must take. The organization is at a fork in the road, it is going to take a breakout pick like Donovan Mitchell to turn the franchise into a new direction.

The Utah Jazz are the perfect comparison to the Clippers. Although the team’s rosters are different, the Jazz were in an identical place after losing Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics. Mitchell saved that franchise.

Thus, it is time for the Clippers to start considering that reality, not going off on some dreamland that involves a superstar. As intriguing as someone like Paul George is, the Clippers need to look for the next face of the franchise.

And that may not be the splashy summer that some fans want to see out of the Los Angeles Clippers. It is what must be done.