Our exit interview series on the 2024 Clippers moves forward with the team’s sixth man, Norm Powell.

Basic Information

Height: 6’3

Weight: 215 pounds

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 31

Years in NBA: 9

Key Regular Stats (for Clippers): 13.9 points, 1.1 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals, and 0.9 turnovers in 26.2 minutes per game across 76 games played (3 starts) on 48.6/43.5/83.1 (5.1 3PT attempts, 2.3 FT attempts) shooting splits (62.6 True Shooting)

Postseason Stats: 12.8 points, 0.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 0.5 steals, and 1.2 turnovers in 29.8 minutes per game across 6 games played (0 starts) on 42.6/44.8/80.0 (4.8 3PT attempts, 2.5 FT attempts) shooting splits (57 True Shooting)

Expectations

Norman Powell’s expectations for the 2024 season were clear: be the Clippers’ sixth man. After a strong 2023 season, it was expected that Norm would turn in a similar campaign in 2024, scoring in the mid-to-high teens on great efficiency while playing minutes in the mid-to-high twenties. At this point in Norm’s career, past age 30, any hopes of improvement to weaknesses such as playmaking, rebounding, or defending were more or less pipedreams, so there was less chance of disappointment.

Reality

Norm squarely met those expectations, providing a consistent scoring presence while scoring at a career-high efficiency. His ability to space the floor and attack closeouts not only stabilized the bench but also assisted the Clippers’ stars players. In fact, the “Powell Rangers” unit featuring Norm with the starters instead of Terance Mann was the best Clippers’ unit of any that received significant playing time, logging an 18.4 Net Rating in 121 minutes across 28 games (it’s somewhat inexcusable it didn’t play more). Norm was lights out from the corners and played well off-ball, making up for his significant dip in free throw rate as the referees called the game differently.

It also must be said that on a team of unreliable and inconsistent performers, Norm’s steadiness stood out. Norm played in 76 games, the most on the Clippers, and while he had bad games like everyone else, he didn’t have prolonged stretches as underwhelming as Paul George, James Harden, or even someone like Terance Mann. He showed up to do his job every game and did it, even if you can quibble about how impactful that job was. Norm, as always, did not supply rebounding, playmaking, or positive defense, and that lack of “other stuff” made his rare bad scoring games stand out more.

Norm’s playoffs, like for most of the Clippers, was not as positive. He was awful in Games 1 and 2, contributing just five and six points respectively on a combined 4-16 shooting. Norm was better for the rest of the series but had his two best performances in Games 3 and 6, which the Mavs won easily, and was only “fine” in Games 4 and 5. Overall, while Norm played hard and had his moments, it was not his finest series, and the Mavs’ length and size really deterred him from getting to his preferred spots.

It was another fine season for Norm, whose scoring, shooting, and ability to get downhill were all important for the Clippers. The Clippers would not have won quite a few of the games they did without Norm’s contributions, and in the aggregate, he was absolutely a positive performer. Whether the Clippers should be as reliant on a player as one-dimensional as Norm is another matter, but he did his job and did it well.

Future with Clippers

Norm Powell is currently one of three Clippers (the other two being Kawhi Leonard and Kobe Brown) with money on the books after the 2025 season. He has two years and around $39.7M left on his contract. Under the new CBA, that dollar amount looks better than it did two years ago – but Powell is also 31 now and clearly a bench player.

Powell remains extremely well-liked by his teammates and has been a positive contributor for the Clippers over his two-plus seasons with the club. The Clippers don’t seem to be in any hurry to move on from him. That said, the Clippers will likely be in the second apron should they bring back Paul George and James Harden on non-team-friendly deals. In that scenario, Norm definitely stands as someone who could be traded to help the Clippers stay under that punishing second apron.

The Clippers shouldn’t just dump Powell. He’s too important to their team for that. But if they can somehow find a way to get younger, cheaper, and bigger/more athletic, they should probably do so. That’s asking a lot, but that’s fine. With Norm’s deal entering the back half of the contract, his value should only climb as the dollar amount decreases. Even if the Clippers don’t move him over the summer, they could very easily trade him at the deadline.

I think it’s still more likely than not that Powell returns to the Clippers as their sixth man, but the likelihood of him getting traded is higher than it was last offseason.

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