When the Los Angeles Clippers mortgaged their future to snatch Paul George away from the Oklahoma City Thunder, their championship hopes went through the roof.
With Kawhi Leonard joining the team in free agency and their NBA-leading bench returning for the 2020 season, the sky was the limit. The Clippers were just one game away from their first Western Conference Finals appearance in franchise history, but, shockingly, LA fell flat on their face and blew a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the conference semifinals.
George, who cost five first-round picks to acquire in the offseason, had less than five made field goals in a horrendous Game 7 effort.
The Clippers traded five first-round picks for Paul George
When Leonard left the Toronto Raptors for the Clippers in free agency, he had one demand. I don’t care how you do it. Go get me Paul George.
So, they did. But George wasn’t cheap.
In order to claw him away from the Thunder, the Clippers gave up promising guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, veteran Danilo Gallinari, and a massive haul of draft picks. The Clippers gave up their unprotected first-round picks in 2022, 2024 and 2026, their 2021 and 2023 first-round selections via the Miami Heat and the option to swap picks with the Thunder in 2023 and 2025.
If you’re keeping track at home, that’s five first-round picks forfeited to land one player. One player who was supposed to help lead the Clippers to their first NBA title. One player who couldn’t even get them to the conference finals in year one.
The Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead to the Nuggets to get bounced from the playoffs
All season long, NBA fans couldn’t wait for the inevitable Clippers vs. Lakers matchup in the Western Conference Finals. They were the two best teams in the West all year, and they were destined to meet in the playoffs.
The Lakers did their part by taking care of the Blazers and Rockets fairly easily, and the Clippers took a commanding 3-1 lead over the Nuggets through four games. One win away from the most anticipated postseason matchup in recent memory.
Until it all fell apart.
The Nuggets rattled off two straight wins to force a Game 7 Tuesday night, but no one really gave them a fighting chance. No one except the Nuggets themselves.
Denver rallied from down 11 in the first half and went on to crush the Clippers 104-89. George, who LA mortgaged its future for in the offseason, went an abysmal 4-16 from the field in the loss.
The Clippers gave up more first-round picks for Paul George than he had made shots in Game 7
When the Clippers gave up five first-round picks for George in the offseason, they were expecting him to be a closer in the postseason and make the trade worth it by bringing LA a title.
Well, that didn’t exactly go as planned.
In the Game 7 loss to the Nuggets, George went 4-16 from the field and 2-11 from three for a measly 10 points. He went 0-6 in the fourth quarter as the Nuggets continued to run up the score.
George made fewer field goals in Game 7 than the Clippers gave up first-round picks to bring him to LA. Embarrassing is putting it mildly.