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D-Stone in the D-League: Week 1 Update

The Clippers’ rookie center played in his first two NBA D-League games this week.

NBA: Preseason-Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Clippers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

When Diamond Stone was selected by the LA Clippers with the 38th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, it was pretty obvious where he was headed: the D-League. He’s a young, raw project big who was taken in the second round and instantly behind two All-NBA big men and the team’s first-round draft selection. As free agency wore on, veteran bigs Brandon Bass and Marreese Speights also figured to be above him in the pecking order.

Even though praise has been high for Stone, it didn’t surprise anyone when the Clippers sent him down to the Santa Cruz Warriors. His results in his first two games might not be surprising either. In the team’s opener, Stone dominated in 24 minutes off of the bench, scoring 31 points and pulling down 9 rebounds while going 12-22 from the field and hitting 2-4 three-point shots. Yeah, he had 5 turnovers, but it was still a pretty good game. In Stone’s second game, he started but played only 13 minutes due to foul trouble, finishing with 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 fouls on 4-9 shooting. He also had 3 more turnovers.

Due to Clipper-related obligations, school, and Thanksgiving travels, I haven’t been able to watch either of these D-League games to get a look at Diamond, but sometimes the box score tells the same story that you’d expect to see if you watched: he’s skilled offensively but not totally polished, he’s good enough to dominate D-League level guys on offense but doesn’t quite have the size or athleticism to avoid being punished on the defensive end and on the glass. It’s the same story we saw in the Summer League, except without as much NBA-Level talent guarding him to slow him down, and more organized play to feed him the ball in the post.

This week, Stone has four more games: he plays Sunday the 27th at 3:00 PM Pacific (the same time as the Clippers play the Pacers, of course), Wednesday the 30th at 8:00 AM Pacific time (don’t ask me why they’re playing at the crack of dawn), Thursday, December 1st at 10:30 Pacific time, and Saturday the 3rd at 4:00 PM Pacific.

You can watch all of those games via FaceBook Live streaming.