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LA Clippers 2017-2018 Player Previews: Jamil Wilson

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Jamil Wilson is the Clippers’ first two-way contract player. What should we expect from him in his rookie season?

2017 Las Vegas Summer League - Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Height: 6’7’’

Weight: 230 pounds

Age: 26

NBA Experience: Rookie

Position: Small Forward/Power Forward

Key Stats (for Fiat Torino in Italian Lega Basket League): Averaged 12.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 29.8 minutes per game. Shot 47.2/39.8/80.9 with 5.3 three-point attempts and 3.0 free throw attempts per game.

Contract Status: Two-Way Contract for 2017-2018

Expectations: Jamil Wilson is the Clippers’ first (and so far, only) two-way contract. That means he will spend most of his season down with the Agua Caliente Clippers in the G-League: he can only be with the LA Clippers for a maximum of 45 days. When he’s with the AC Clippers he will get paid at a rate of $75,000 a year (low, but way higher than other G-League salaries), while he will make a pro-rated minimum contract ($800,000+) during his time in the NBA. Jamil would therefore be very happy if he got the full 45 days in the NBA, as he would gain a lot of extra salary as well as experience.

The Clippers signed Jamil after his explosive Summer League performance, where he was the Clippers’ best player. A lot of that excellence was outrageously hot shooting that won’t carry over, but Jamil impressed in other ways as well. He appeared competent on defense (no small feat in Summer League) both on-ball and off, and defended every position from point guard to center. Ten years ago Jamil would have been considered a “tweener” because of his size and lack of true position. In today’s NBA, he is a terrific fit as a combo forward who can guard multiple positions due to his length, strength, and relative quickness. He probably isn’t going to be the Clippers’ Draymond Green, though he could be a useful defensive player on a team that has struggled with size and length in the past.

It is on offense, however, that Wilson flashed true potential. He’s a very good shooter from distance, which is beneficial at any position, but is even more appreciated when he’s playing power forward and stretches the floor. Jamil has a fairly quick release, and is comfortable from all around the three-point arc. As the Clippers discovered with Luc Mbah a Moute, being a solid outside shooter isn’t super valuable if you can’t get your shot off consistently, or can only hit from certain spots. Jamil hopefully won’t have those issues in the NBA. Outside of shooting, Wilson proved to have a nose for offensive rebounds, and had a couple nice put-back dunks. Those will be tougher to come by against better competition, but the energy and activity will be valued regardless. More impressively, Jamil demonstrated decent passing ability, as he racked up eight assists in one game. His averaging of around two assists per game in the D-League (solid for a non-ball dominant forward) backs up the eye test and his Summer League numbers. While he’s not a true playmaker like Blake Griffin, Jamil will move the ball and can make passes off the dribble. At 26, he isn’t going to start developing ISO skills that he doesn’t already possess (at least not substantially)—he isn’t the kind of player to create offense. But his game is perfectly suited to be a “glue” guy at the NBA level.

Jamil has two different expectations: one for his time in the G-League, the other for his stretch in the NBA. As the Clippers’ only under-contract player in Ontario, it makes sense that Wilson will get a lot of minutes for Agua Caliente. Again, he’s not a guy who AC will run their offense through, but he should hopefully be their best player, a well-rounded force who can do a bit of everything. If all goes well, he should honestly look too good for the G-League. In the NBA, Jamil probably won’t get too much playing time (unless one of Danilo Gallinari or Sam Dekker misses a long stretch due to injury). However, when he does play, he should look like he at least belongs in the NBA. He’s a seasoned veteran, and while he hasn’t played in the NBA before, the Clippers must be hoping he can contribute at least some rotation level minutes if called upon.

I like Jamil Wilson’s game. He’s not flashy, but he’s just a good player. He contributes positively when he’s on the court, and does so in a variety of ways. There’s no guarantee he plays at a high enough level to be an NBA rotation player, true. Yet he just has the feel of a guy who can adapt his game to raised competition, and I think there’s a real chance he gets minutes for the (LA) Clippers this season. I’m excited to watch him suit up for the Clips.