There were a lot of similarities between the Clippers first summer league game and their second one. Reggie Bullock again led the team in scoring with 18 points. DaJuan Summers and Samardo Samuels again provided the rest of the offense punch, this time with 15 and 13 respectively. And once again no one else did a whole lot on offense. The main difference is that it was enough for a win on Friday against the Hawks, but it resulted in the loss Sunday against the D League Select Team. For what that is worth. Which is not much. If you are concerned with such things, you'll be pleased to know that by winning the second quarter and spitting the third and fourth quarters, the Clippers actually came away with half of the available four points in the standings that will determine the Summer League playoff seedings. So they've got that going for them.
Bullock was a mere 4-12 overall, 3-10 from deep, which was indicative of poor shooting for the Clippers as a whole. But I came away impressed with Bullock in my first chance to watch him live. His shot is just about perfect. The mechanics are terrific, and he seems to shoot with an effortless ease from deep. During warm ups I watched him shooting corner threes, and I only saw him miss once in a good long while. He's got a quick release and he doesn't waste a lot of time in general -- when he gets the ball he's going to shoot or pass pretty quickly; a ball-stopper he is not.
Is there anyone else on this summer league roster I can see helping the Clippers? Probably not. The Jonny Flynn experiment ended before it began, with the Clippers dismissing him from the team before he played a minute. Apparently landing behind Jerome Randle on the summer depth chart didn't sit well with the former lottery pick. For what it's worth, it seems as if Randle might give Malik Wayns a run for the emergency point guard roster spot in camp, if the Clippers choose not to grab a more experienced vet at the minimum (someone like Bobby Brown, for instance). Randle couldn't make a shot today, but he did do a terrific job of breaking down the defense, and among his team-high eight assists (five more than Wayns, BTW) were four that led directly to dunks. As a change of pace point guard, you could do worse than Randle, though he is tiny.
Will someone like Samuels or Brandon Davies (who has a non-guaranteed contract already) make the regular season roster? It could happen, but you certainly don't want to be depending on them in real live NBA games. Samuels looks great physically -- I always viewed him as a little doughy, carrying more than a few too many lbs, but that's not the guy here in Vegas. He looks ripped, so if conditioning used to be a knock against the guy, it would seem to be an issue no longer. But in discussing Samuels with Conrad Kaczmarek, the editor of SB Nation's Cavs blog Fear the Sword (Samuels was a Cav in his NBA career so far), his criticism foruses on the intangibles -- basketball IQ, ability to work within a system, attitude, etc. That kind of player might look fine, or even very good, in the summer league setting, but it won't matter much. Indeed, when Samuels got tangled with Brian Butch late in the game and had the call go against him, he visibly hung his head for the next several possessions. Not good.
Davies is active, hard-working and relatively talented -- but I'm not really seeing NBA talent to tell you the truth. He looks to me like a guy who can have a very successful professional basketball career in Europe. But I'm not seeing NBA Big in him.
Truthfully, Summers is easily the best Clipper out here after Bullock, but he just happens to be a three, and the Clippers seem to be loaded there. Even if you presume that Bullock may play some two in the NBA, it's hard to see where there are any minutes for Summers other than as a four in small ball lineups, given the presence of Matt Barnes and Jared Dudley on the roster. Maybe you do that -- but on second thought, no, you don't. You just can't carry that many threes on the opening day roster. Too bad, because Summers isn't a bad player.
The Clippers play their third and final pool play summer league game tomorrow against the Lakers at 5 PM. That game should be on NBA-TV. After that, the next game will be in the tournament portion of the event, on either Wednesday or Thursday against an opponent to be determined.