This was a consolation game, so it was clear from the outset that the Clippers had no designs on really attempting to win this game. Once again, almost every player on the roster got a few minutes to try to impress one last time. The two exceptions were David Michineau (presumably still recovering from his ankle injury) and Sindarius Thornwell (spot already locked up).
Here are some notes on the game:
- The biggest news of the afternoon was that the Clippers are going to sign Vegas standout Jamil Wilson to a two-way contract. We will have more on that later. He barely played in this one (probably because the Clippers had seen enough), checking in for five brief minutes.
- Brice Johnson closed his second Summer League strong, scoring 17 points on 8-12 shooting. He continues to look mighty effective in the post and from midrange, though he does rely a lot on long 2s in the pick and pop game. He did hit one three-pointer, his first of Summer League, and that has to be the shot that he masters next.
- Jawun Evans also put forth his best performance of Summer League today, scoring 17 points on 7-11 shooting, and dishing out 6 assists to no turnovers. He still took a couple bad shots in the paint that were swatted away, but he’s quite a gifted passer who doesn’t make many poor decisions with the ball. While some of his shot attempts around the basket might not work against regular NBA competition, he should be able to score against poor 2nd unit defenses, possibly as early as his upcoming rookie season.
- Jaron Johnson got the start at small forward, and finally distinguished himself from the pack of other wings on the roster. He put in 18 points, hitting 4-6 threes, and had a couple nice dunks as well. The rest of his game on both ends is not quite there, but he can really shoot it, and he has explosive athleticism. Jaron could be a potential camp invite, but will more likely be a member of the Agua Caliente Clippers.
- Isaiah Hicks had his best showing as well, scoring 13 points, snagging 6 rebounds, and collecting 3 blocks. He can’t do much offensively outside of dunk (which is very valuable, as DeAndre Jordan has proved throughout his career), but he does have some instincts on defense. He’s already signed to camp, so we should be seeing him again in a couple months.
- Luke Nelson got a lot of run today, and hit a couple nice threes. His problem is that he’s a classic tweener guard: too small to be a shooting guard, and not a good enough playmaker to run point. Look for Nelson to maybe get some run with the AC Clippers as well. He could be interesting in a couple years if he’s able to develop more lead-guard skills.
- Kendall Marshall played well again by the box score, dishing out 11 assists in just 20 minutes, and only turning the ball over twice. There’s no doubt he’s an incredibly good passer, one of the best in basketball. Really. The issues are with everything else. Even when he can turn the corner and get into the paint, its tough for him to finish due to his lack of explosiveness. If he could make open 3s, his lack of speed and burst would be less pressing, but he has passed down open looks time and time again in Summer League, to the detriment of the offense. On defense, he generally knows where to be, but again, the athleticism just isn’t there. I still think Marshall is the perfect point guard to run the AC Clippers, leading the young guys and getting them easy buckets. He would definitely make more money in Europe, however.
- Kyle Wiltjer scored 12 points in limited minutes, but the only thing he seems to know how to do on the basketball court is shoot. He takes far too many poor shots, and doesn’t play in the flow of the offense. The less said about his defense the better. I’d bet on him getting cut before his contract becomes guaranteed on August 1.
- James Bell and Hollis Thompson were outplayed by Jaron today, but the three of them alternated solid and poor efforts throughout Summer League, so even though I think Jaron has the most upside, I wouldn’t expect too much out of any of them. A disappointing showing for Hollis, who is an NBA veteran and should have stood out more.
- Nobody else stood out much in their limited minutes. Maybe a couple of them make the AC Clippers’ roster.
Good luck to the Clippers’ Summer Leaguers! It was a fun week of play, and everyone seemed to play hard and with purpose. I hope all of them find success in their basketball careers somewhere, with the Clippers or elsewhere.