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Midseason Roundtable Grades: Diamond Stone and Brice Johnson

Some of Clips Nation’s writers got together to hand out grades to every Clippers’ player so far this season. Here is our look at Clips’ rookies Brice Johnson and Diamond Stone.

Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Robert Flom:

Diamond Stone: C

Stone has played a mere 22 minutes for the Clippers this season, making it hard to give him a real evaluation. In those incredibly limited minutes, he hasn’t really shown much— and if he looked great in practice, Doc would have given him more of a chance at some point. His D-League stats are solid but not amazing, so he gets an exactly average “C” grade from me here. Let’s hope he makes a bit more of an impression during his sophomore campaign.

Brice Johnson: N/A

Brice hasn’t played a minute of professional basketball so far (unless you count Summer League, which I don’t), so its impossible to give him an actual grade. It is hard not to be disappointed that he got injured so early into his NBA career, but it’s impossible to blame him for it. Hopefully he gets at least token minutes at some point this season. Unless something crazy happens to the Clippers this season, however, his rookie year will essentially be the 2017-2018 season.

Max Jeffrey:

Diamond Stone: No Grade

Aside from inconsistent stints with some D-League affiliates along with garbage time minutes in an actual Clippers uniform, Diamond Stone has yet to crack the team’s rotation. One might chalk this up to Doc simply being Doc, not playing rookies a la Reggie Bullock, C.J. Wilcox, and Branden Dawsen. In this instance, however, Stone's absence from the rotation is justified. With DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, Marreese Speights, and Brandon Bass all sharing minutes at the center position, it’s easy to see why Stone is far from being recognized as a diamond in the rough. Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that instead of trading their second-round pick for two (which turned into guard David Michineau, along with Stone), the Clippers could have drafted Patrick McCaw from UNLV.

Brice Johnson: Definitely No Grade

Brice Johnson is impossible to evaluate, since he has yet to suit-up for the 2016-17 NBA season for the Clippers. He could become an impactful second-unit player upon return from injury after the likely departure of Speights this summer, or he could become Ryan Hollins. Only health and time will tell.

Kenneth Armstrong:

Diamond Stone: Pass

As a D-League guy so far, Stone has averaged 16 points in 21 minutes, on an efficient 49% shooting. He rebounding is a little underwhelming -- only 7 per game -- but 13 games is a pretty small sample size. My only concern is that Stone will never prove athletic enough to contribute for an NBA team.

Brice Johnson: Incomplete

One has to feel bad for a guy that gets hurt before he even has a chance to play. He hasn't been a plus for the Clippers, but he also hasn't been a negative, so I'll give him an "incomplete" for now.

James Nisky:

Diamond Stone: C-

He’s had very limited minutes and appearances, but has looked unprepared for the NBA game. His size is excellent, and he’s said to be a skilled shooter. At this point, he hasn’t had the minutes to work through the first season jitters. That said, Doc has seen him all year in practice, and presumably Stone hasn’t proved himself enough to justify more than garbage time minutes.

Brice Johnson: N/A

Brice has been injured all season. While Stone was not expected to contribute anytime soon, it was hoped that Brice could play his way into the minutes that currently go to Wesley Johnson or Alan Anderson—at least that was my hope. The Clippers need a young talent on a rookie scale contract to get up to speed with the NBA game quickly enough to contribute in an early-in-his-career Draymond Green sort of way. Such a development would change the Clippers current title arc in a more upward direction, and would prevent Doc Rivers from having to overpay veterans to do work that a young first round pick should be able to handle for a fraction of the pay. First year injuries happen—look at Blake, Embiid (twice), Simmons, J. Randle—talent finds a way. Let’s not panic on Brice.

Davey Bales: Incomplete

Diamond Stone/Brice Johnson: INC -- Brice still has yet to suit up as he works he way back from a back injury, and Diamond has spent a good portion of the season in the D-League. Stone has shown some promise in his most recent stint with the Salt Lake City Stars, but he still is a massive project for a coach who has never been particularly keen on developing young players. Johnson, on the other hand, should be more pro-ready, but the nagging injury hasn't given us a chance to see how his game might translate to the NBA. We may not get the opportunity to see him in a Clippers uniform this season, but I'm hoping that with a productive offseason and training camp, he may be able to fill the high-energy big role that Brandon Bass currently occupies. As of right now, I'm giving both an incomplete, as we just haven't seen enough from either.

How would you guys grade the Clippers’ rookies this season? Let us know in the comments section!