Clippers realize top-five picks are expensive

The Clippers have picks Nos. 12 and 13, and they have made a game effort of trying to move into the top five ahead of the draft. But even a package built around that pair of lottery picks has not proven enough to crack that upper echelon.

In fact, for all the talk of a willingness to trade up in this draft, teams besides the Clippers are finding that the asking price for a top-five spot is far too much.

This is a good draft, a very good draft at the top, one league source told Sporting News. But the value that teams are placing on these picks is a little unreasonable in some cases.

League sources believe that the most likely trade the Raptors are to pull off this offseason is a salary dump of Norman Powell, who fell out of the rotation last year and saw his numbers plummet. Powell played just 40 total minutes in the postseason this year, and he has a four-year, $42 million extension kicking in on July 1.

It has been more than two months since I wrestled with stats and sorted through the drop-down menus that are the scourge of those of us tasked with voting on the NBA’s awards. My ballot was filed on April 1I got that done first. Then I started work on my taxes. Priorities.

When reviewing how I voted, it’s striking how much I would have changed to include playoff performance, instead of just the regular season. For me, I would have made alterations to three big categories.

Now that we’re past the end of the playoffs, that ballot just does not look right. It starts at the top. If I were voting for MVP now, with the postseason included, it would be too difficult to ignore the multiple dud games that Harden had, the way he shot 38.6 percent against the Warriors after his brilliant Game 1 performance and his struggles in clutch situations.

This list is going to be fun… until you get to the page with your team. Then the pain may set in.

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