Our 2022 season exit interview series at 213 Hoops rolls on with a look at midseason acquisition Norm Powell.
Weight: 215 lbs
Years in the NBA: 7
Key Stats: 5 G, 2 GS, 25 MIN, 21.4 PTS, 2.8 AST, 7.0 FTA, 50.8/54.2/85.7 with Clippers
. . . a shrewd addition.
I don’t recall how many people considered Norm Powell to be a realistic trade-deadline target for the Clippers. (I’m not going to look it up, either.) I don’t think it was many.
As is their wont, the Clippers worked stealthily to add Powell, a versatile guard in his prime years with a long, palatable contract and some playoff chops on his CV. In return, the Clippers parted with recent first-rounder Keon Johnson and a 2025 second-rounder (from Detroit), and offloaded Eric Bledsoe and Justise Winslow. Powell was a deadline-story headliner, the type of player who could help propel a Clipper offense that increasingly relied upon Reggie Jackson. It was the kind of trade that makes you say, “Ooh.” And they got Robert Covington too.
. . . abridged, like so many Clippers’ stories this season.
Norm Powell played all of three games for the 2022 Clippers before he broke his foot. He missed the next two months before returning for a two-game tune-up before the play-in games.
Powell tantalized in his brief regular season tenure with the Clippers, flashing his ability to carry a large offensive load and score at the two most critical levels, in the paint and from beyond the arc. He brought the downhill element the Clippers hoped to find with Bledsoe. Powell scored at least 20 three times and led the Clippers in free-throw attempts three times. He made more than half of his threes.
Unfortunately, the added intensity of the play-in games revealed cracks. With so little time to gel with his new teammates, Powell struggled at both ends. His season was over quickly, again.
Future with Clippers
Powell just completed the first of a five-year, $90 million contract. He is currently signed for longer than any other Clipper. He is an important part of the team’s near and intermediate future, either as a contributor or as a movable salary.
Powell’s roughly $18 million average salary is no bargain, but it’s no gross burden either. With the Clippers’ cap tied to two max-salary stars and a largely veteran roster, Powell’s long-term commitment through the late years of his prime were more feature than bug. In his brief 2021 audition, Powell showed how he could serve as an offensive spark plug in the absence of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, an eventuality given the stars’ age and requirement for rest for good health. In 2019, Powell showed he could contribute next to one of those stars, serving as a productive role player for the title-winning Raptors.
The Clippers know both sides of Powell. They’ve planned for it. They expect to see it next year. Just don’t tell him to break a leg.