LA Clippers: Who is the team’s third best player right now?

The LA Clippers have one of the most talented rosters throughout the entire NBA, which brings up the question of who the team’s third-best player is.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George solidified themselves as one of the NBA’s best duos all season long before the hiatus for the LA Clippers. The pair was fantastic in their first season together and were clearly the top two players on this team.

On a team stacked with talent from top to bottom, who ranks as the third-best player after this pair? The two players mostly thrown into the mix are Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell.

Both players had such stellar seasons that trying to decipher which of them is the better player is nearly impossible. One is a shooting guard, and the other a power forward, which makes it harder as each brought a different aspect of the game to the table that elevated the Clippers higher.

Williams is a better playmaker than Harrell as he leads the team in assists and totaled third in scoring, but Harrell is a better rebounder and defender while ranked fourth in scoring.

Lou Williams had a sensational season for the Clippers as he averaged 18.7 points per game, 3.1 rebounds, and a team-high 5.7 assists. At 33-years-old, Williams proved all season long that he could still produce at the highest level.

However, Montrezl Harrell had a career year for the LA Clippers this season and may have asserted himself as the team’s third-best player.

Having appeared in 63 games this season, Harrell averaged career-highs in points and rebounds, with 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. The backup big man performed well on the defensive end also as he tallied 1.1 blocks per game.

Harrell’s career-high 18.6 points per game this season are just a tick below Williams’ 18.7 points, and Harrell did so averaging 1.2 fewer turnovers per game. Williams handled the ball more simply because he is a guard, which created more turnovers.

Lou Williams has also never been categorized as a top-tier defender, but Harrell has trended in that direction this season. His 1.1 blocks per game this season may not be out of this world but showcased the big man’s consistency on the defensive end.

This defense played by Harrell is a significant advantage that the forward has over Williams. The 6’8″ Harrell is a versatile defender and propelled the Clippers’ paint defense, which ranked sixth in the entire league.

Although the tandem’s stats are similarly close almost everywhere, one stat that goes entirely in favor of Harrell is PER or player efficiency rating, basically just how efficient a player is. For players who have played in 50 games or more for the Clippers, Harrell ranked second at an impressive 23.17, just behind Kawhi Leonard‘s 26.76 PER.

Lou Williams stands at a 17.24 PER for the season, drastically below Harrell’s mark. PER is not the most defining stat, particularly when comparing players of different positions, but it does provide some insight to separate the pair slightly.

Overall, the argument can go either way for being in favor of Montrezl Harrell or Lou Williams. Both had great seasons for the LA Clippers and played their respective roles phenomenally. Still, given his career-year and how much he progressed on both ends of the court, Harrell appears to be the team’s third-best player right now.

Williams has undoubtedly had the better the career among the two, but Harrell’s breakout season gives him the slightest edge.