While the 2021 NBA free agent class may not contain the star power we have seen in previous years, it may be perfectly tailored for one team in particular. A consistent criticism of the LA Clippers' roster construction the last two seasons, has been their lack of a traditional point guard. While many metrics affirm the belief that this critique is overblown, there is certainly some validity to the idea that this Clippers roster could use a prolific ball handler. If the Clippers' front office also believes this to be the case, then this is the summer to do something about it.
Before factoring in the potential players that could become available via trade, the 2021 free agency class is loaded with over a dozen point guards that would be an immidiate upgrade over the Clippers' current backcourt situation. With Rajon Rondo being the only traditional point guard under contract for the Clippers next season, the current free agent point guard class of Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, Goran Dragic, Dennis Schroder, Patty Mills, Spencer Dinwiddie, Lonzo Ball, Derrick Rose, Cameron Payne, and Reggie Jackson would all be considerable upgrades over the veteran playmaker.
With Reggie Jackson entering free agency, and likely having priced himself out of the Clippers' budget with his great postseason, the Clippers must find a way to fill that starting point guard vacancy if they are unable to retain Jackson. Patrick Beverley has continued to prove his value, even at this stage of his career, but the team performed best this postseason when Pat Bev was alongside a primary ball handler like Jackson. This allowed Bev to play the role that is most fitting to him, which is one of the best 3 and D guards in the game.
The backcourt duo of Beverley and Jackson had a +9.1 NTRG in their 189 minutes together this postseason, as opposed to the -10.8 mark in the 134 minutes Beverley played without Jackson on the floor. It became evident as the playoffs progressed, that Pat Bev is best utilized alongside a primary ball handler. Because this is indeed the case, what should the Clippers do if they are unable to retain Reggie?
While the Clippers are limited financially, they will almost certainly search for ways to create enough cap space to pursue one of the many available point guards this summer. With the available free agent point guards consisting of those previously mentioned, names such as Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker, Collin Sexton, and Ben Simmons could be hitting the trade block before the start of next season. With Steve Ballmer and the Clippers' front office consistently proving they will stop at nothing to improve their roster, keep an eye out for the Clippers' pursuit of a premier point guard this offseason.