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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Charles Curtis

The projected Clippers rotation after James Harden trade looks good … on paper

It may be NFL trade deadline day and Halloween, but Tuesday morning belonged to the James Harden deal.

In the early hours, thanks to a 2 a.m. Woj news break, we found out that Harden was on his way to the Los Angeles Clippers in a trade that many thought was a fleecing by the Clips.

With the dust now settling, here’s the important thing to focus on: What does the Clippers rotation look like now that they dealt so many bench players and opened up a spot in the starting lineup for Harden?

Here’s your answer. Let’s break it all down:

Point guard: James Harden

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Bench: Russell Westbrook, Bones Hyland

This lineup needed a play-making facilitator who could also score (and who isn’t Russell Westbrook). Here you go. Given how good Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are on the offensive end as well, this should make for a deadly combo when they play together.

Westbrook with the second unit isn’t bad! Bones has been playing really well to start the year and should still contribute.

Shooting guard: Terance Mann

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Bench: Amir Coffey

He could also be a small forward, but here’s an X-factor: A savvy young player who could continue to grow as the fourth scorer on this team. There’s a reason why he wasn’t included in the Harden deal.

Shooting guard: Paul George

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Bench: Norman Powell

You could flip-flop him with Mann, but the point here is that you have a superstar here or at the 2. Powell is great in the second unit.

Power forward: Kawhi Leonard

 Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Bench: P.J. Tucker

Or should George be here? Whatever. Positions matter less in today’s NBA. But Leonard is still a force on either end of the court, even if his defense is slightly less stifling than it was in his prime. Maybe Harden lessens his offensive responsibilities, making Kawhi focus his energy more on defense again.

Tucker is still a guy you want on a playoff team.

Center: Ivica Zubac

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Bench: Mason Plumlee

Every contender needs a paint clogger who doesn’t need the ball to clean up boards and block shots. Here he is, plus Plumlee adds good depth.

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