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Game Preview: Clippers Take on Kings in Summer League

The Clippers play game two of their Las Vegas Summer League slate tonight against the Sacramento Kings.

2018 NBA Summer League - Las Vegas - Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

With one Summer League game in the books, Clippers’ fans have been eagerly awaiting game two of Jerome Robinson and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Clippers uniforms. The Clips will take on the Sacramento Kings at 8:00 PM Pacific Time tonight at Cox Pavilion on NBATv. Here’s a few things to look for in tonight’s contest:

Shooting, shooting, shooting: The Clippers shot 7-26 from deep in their first game, and most of those looks were wide open. Worse, the Clippers’ rookies were only 3-12, a poor number that will hopefully improve tonight. While numbers aren’t very important in Summer League, bricking open threes is never a good sign. Jerome is ready to shoot as soon as he’s open, but I’d like to see the other Clippers’ roster guys (Shai, Jawun Evans, Sindarius Thornwell) be a little more willing to pull from deep when given the chance. All of them need to work on their shots, and there’s no better practice than getting reps in live gameplay!

Jerome on-ball: As Lucas said in his recap Friday night, Jerome Robinson spent most of his time off the ball in the Clippers’ first game. I do think that he needs to work on that part of his game, because almost everyone in the NBA outside of the very top playmakers spend a good portion of their time off-ball, but I also would love to see him unleashed running the pick and roll with Shai moving off the ball. He’s the best shooter on this Summer League (and it’s not close), which makes him an interesting lead option (especially in the Summer League setting). Robinson’s ability to get shots off and create for others is invaluable on a Clippers’ SL team that struggled to get good looks at times, and he could score 30 points easily if given the full green light. While the Clippers might be looking to see other things from him, as they know he can handle and score, it would still be fun to see him get going with the ball in his hands. Unfortunately, Jerome is sitting tonight, so we’ll have to wait at least until Monday’s game to see him again. His absence means more offensive possessions in the hands of Jawun, Shai, and Sindarius Thornwell, as well as possible minutes opening up for David Michineau and Jordan Matthews.

Editor’s Note: Jerome Robinson will not play today, as the Clippers are sitting him to let him rest.

Different rotations: The Clippers played 11 guys on Friday, with one of those (Jaylen Johnson) only getting two minutes. Summer League is an opportunity for everyone on the roster to prove themselves, so expect to see at least a couple of the guys who didn’t get minutes in game one get some run tonight. That bucket includes former Clippers’ draft pick David Michineau, sharp-shooting guard Jordan Matthews, versatile scorer Bogdan Bliznyuk, and forward Tyler Harris.

Jawun redemption: Jawun Evans had a rough opening game, scoring six points on the same number of shots with two turnovers in just 12 minutes of game time. He’s a player who should excel in Summer League due to his speed and passing ability, and it would be great to see him get into more of a rhythm tonight. Look for him to push the pace a bit more in this game and have a bounceback performance. Still, the best sign from him would be a bit more patience on offense, and demonstrating the ability to slow down instead of going full speed all the time.

Vincent Hunter: Vince was the only Clippers’ big man to play well in game one, scoring nine points and pulling down eight boards in just 14 minutes. He was perfect from the field, and had the most energy and bounce of any of the big men. That makes him a suitable matchup against Kings’ power forward Marvin Bagley, who’s extremely athletic and will be a tough cover for Grant Jerrett or Angel Delgado.

Kings’ Players: The aforementioned Bagley is the Kings’ biggest-name player, as he was taken 2nd in the 2018 NBA Draft just a few weeks ago. He hasn’t had a great Summer League so far, but that might make him all the hungrier tonight. More impressive has been last year’s 20th pick Harry Giles, who spent all year rehabbing an injury, but who has demonstrated some of the talent that made him one of the top-ranked high school players in the country. The Kings are also running out point guard Frank Mason and wing Justin Jackson, both of whom are second-year NBA players and capable of getting hot from deep. Finally, Ike Iroegbu, a standout on the Agua Caliente Clippers last year, has been playing minutes for the Kings off the bench. He too, can be a phenomenal scorer when he gets going.

Editor’s Note: Marvin Bagley is also out tonight.