The Clippers’ offense has quietly been bad to start the preseason — and that’s with two of their games coming against non-NBA opponents. The team has had sloppy, disjointed offensive performances for large stretches of their four games. The Clippers have posted a 99.8 offensive rating in the preseason, the 19th-best mark in the league. That rating would have been dead last in the league last season — behind the 30th-ranked New York Knicks — by over four points per 100 possessions.
Harrell’s situation is more complicated. Offensively, he’s probably the team’s best option at the 5. Green offers more stretch, and Zubac has the size to screen and crash the glass, but Harrell’s ability to score from the post and bulldoze his way to the rim gives the Clippers a valuable paint presence. His passing is emerging, which may be the element that cements his status as a closer. But on the other end of the floor, Harrell, who is closer to 6-foot-7 than his listed height of 6-8, is limited by his size. His 7-4 wingspan partially makes up for that, but when the Clippers face elite 5s like Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic or Anthony Davis, rolling with Zubac or Green might make more sense because of their larger frames and superior defense and rebounding.