Is Mike Conley the missing piece for the LA Clippers?

Mike Conley (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Mike Conley (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Clippers have been slowly checking off boxes that many listed coming into the season of their everlasting expectations. Apparently, their dynamic duo is forever unable to meet projections due to a lack of continuity and chemistry because of the health woes they face.

The significant pieces of depth have found solidified roles. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have been on the floor more, with a record of 13-7 in their 20 games played. The Clippers are 6-4 in their last 10 games, winning four in a row with both wings active. Heading into Kawhi’s return to San Antonio, they had dropped nine of 11.

This is the second trade deadline in a row where they are interested in acquiring a floor general to keep things more grounded and intact, especially with all of the outside noise. The Rajon Rondo experiment did not escalate into anything, and John Wall has been another who has been unable to meet expectations due to an injury of his own and some limitations.

Reggie Jackson is more on the scoring side of things like many others, and he doesn’t thread the needle. Rumors of interest in Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet running the show have circulated in the past and are back again. Who else is a current, more realistic nominee who would be more affordable on the trade market? Michael Conley Jr.

Is Mike Conley the missing piece for the LA Clippers?

During this 10-game stretch for the Clippers, they have the second-best offensive rating and are fourth in NET. LA is still 20th in defensive rating and an unamusing 29th in assist percentage while being 23rd in assist ratio and 15 in AST/TO. Something they have always steadily declined in is pace, and it shows with them being last over this span.

Conley is seventh in assists per game with 7.5. Since Chris Paul, the Clippers have not had a point guard with at least six assists per game.

It has been some time since they have had an actual quarterback man the offense since CP3. Not that it is an easy void to fill, but no one guard has been of guidance in the floor general role.

The Clippers face constant outside scrutiny because of what many want to see out of their healthy group. Because of the duo’s durability issues, their chances of eventually reaching the Finals have not been as good as expected. Ty Lue adds a lot of moving parts to the depth of the lineup, with the two being unavailable at times.

Having a staple like Conley would provide more leadership and intimacy in the locker room, while LA would add a voice. The 2021 All-Star, of course, would add more elite ball movement to not only bring the best out of George and Leonard but also make shooters more comfortable. Shooters such as Marcus Morris, Luke Kennard, Norman Powell, Robert Covington, Nic Batum, etc.

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The team has been running George at point guard lately and has expressed their disinterest in moving Terance Mann, but adding another leader in Conley would highly benefit the Clippers. Potentially, this will bring Steve Ballmer and his team closer to that elusive promised land that they have so desired. His playoff experience would have made both battle-tested parties hungrier.