Our staff roundtable grades continue with a look at Norm Powell, the 2022 Clippers’ big mid-season acquisition who played just a handful of games due to injury.

David Mendez-Yapkowitz: Incomplete

It’s just tough to give a grade to Norm Powell considering we only saw him for five games in the 2022 season. There were instances when he looked absolutely incredible and a few times where he looked like he was forcing the issue offensively. Chalk it up to having a limited learning curve with this group. There’s no question though that he brings a much needed skill-set to the team. The Clippers were in desperate need of someone else who could break down the defense off the dribble, someone else who could attack downhill. It was an incredibly small sample size but Norm did shoot 54.2 percent from three with the Clippers. Being a consistent outside threat is something he’s put a lot of work into the last couple of seasons. It’s going to be fun seeing him get a full training camp and season with the Clippers under his belt.

Kenneth Armstrong: B

Norm was pretty good, when he was on the floor, but that obviously was rare. In his five regular season games with the Clippers, he only had one below-50% shooting game, and scored over 16 points each night. In a vacuum, this was exactly what the Clippers needed from Norm. There were a few issues, though. Most importantly, he did not seem integrated in the offense, which is totally understandable given his injury. And, to be fair, it looked great when PG and Norm were on the floor together. Nonetheless, sometimes it felt like he was pressing and, at other times, he would vanish. Hopefully, next year, they can get him into a good rhythm so he knows when to attack and when to spot up. The second issue is that he fouled too much, which contributed to his lack of rhythm because he had to be taken out. 

Shapan Debnath: Incomplete

It’s just tough to give a grade to Norm considering we only saw him for five games. There were instances when he looked absolutely incredible and a few times where he looked like he was forcing the issue offensively. Chalk it up to having a limited learning curve with this group. There’s no question though that he brings a much needed skill-set to the team. The Clippers were in desperate need of someone else who could break down the defense off the dribble, someone else who could attack downhill. It was an incredibly small sample size but Norm did shoot 54.2 percent from three with the Clippers. Being a consistent outside threat is something he’s put a lot of work into the last couple of seasons. It’s going to be fun seeing him get a full training camp and season with the Clippers under his belt.

Lucas Hann: Incomplete

I really have nowhere else to go with this except to throw my hands up in the air and say “I dunno!”  He was fantastic from the jump as a Clipper, including flexing some playmaking chops that we hadn’t seen before, before missing essentially the entire rest of the season with that broken foot.  He came back for a couple of meaningless late-season exhibitions and shot the ball well, but I would bet that if it wasn’t because he needed to get some run in before playing in the Play-In Tournament, he would have been out a little bit longer.  In those Play-In games, his conditioning was clearly off as he was a revolving door on defense and struggled to find his groove offensively alongside teammates he had barely played with before.  I’d give him an A for the regular season and a D for the Play-In Tournament, except I think it’s extreme to assign him that level of praise for very few meaningful minutes and incredibly harsh to hold against him his poor Play-In performances given the context of his health and newness to the team.  So, INC.  Next season will essentially be a fresh start for Norm and the Clippers, and I’m excited for a full season of him.

Randi Geffner: Pass

Norman Powell, what can we say other than you were just a microcosm of the Clippers season, showing great promise and moments of true beauty and then leaving us with that familiar combination of heartbreak, hope, and what ifs?  Given the minimal time he played at all, I think we need to move this one to a pass/fail grade and just give Norm the pass.  From the jump there were some great moments showing promise as a fit with the team, and some solid work in the last week of the season (which was really just fake games against fake teams).  Good numbers in the Timberwolves play-in game, shooting 56% from the field and a hot 60% from deep, but even so it’s probably being a little generous to give a passing grade here simply because it’s such a small sample size.  Having said that, my plan is to celebrate at the parade with Norman in June 2023!

Robert Flom: B-

I don’t have much to add to what people said above, but I’m determined to give grades to everyone, so a grade I will assign. Norm’s injury was not his fault, nor was the result awkwardness on the court between him and his teammates considering how few reps he had with them. Still, while the numbers look good, Norm Powell never fit into the 2022 Clippers this season on offense, and was quite bad on defense (people around the league have told me he’s one of the most overrated defenders in the NBA – we will see). I’ll give him a pass considering the circumstances, and I’m excited to see a healthy Norm Powell next to Paul George and Kawhi Leonard next year.

Cole Huff: Incomplete

How does one even grade a guy who appeared in seven games? I honestly don’t know what his grade is, but I will say that Powell was as good as advertised in his outings. He provided instant and much-needed scoring from every level and did so rather efficiently. He even showed glimpses of playmaking during his earlier games. But one knock on Powell that was glaring is how he fades in second halves, which is understandable given his limited game reps following his injury. And I’m not sure if the injury limited Norm on the defensive end but he looked a step slow on the ball and was very foul prone. 

Nevertheless, Powell’s sample size with the Clippers was small enough for me to stay away from giving him a grade. For what it’s worth, I thought his seven games were encouraging and the Clippers should all be excited for what he brings to the table next season.

Ralston Dacanay: B-

Here’s to hoping we’ve really just scratched the surface with Norman Powell. In the three games Norm Powell played in the 2022 season before he went down with the fractured bone in his left foot, he looked every bit of the godsend he was on paper when the Clips acquired him at the deadline as a sharp shot-maker and an elite foul-drawer. It was awesome that he was able to eventually return, but his defense, as to be expected, was less than ideal in the Play-In Tournament. Overall, I’m excited to see where his ceiling lies with LAC especially since he mentioned that he wants to be an All-Star. It’s been great seeing him enjoy being back home, hype up the Clips every chance he gets on social media, and talk so highly about his excitement to play with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. I think he could be fantastic either as a starter or the sixth man next year.

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