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Derrick Walton Jr. Makes Clippers Roster as 15th Man

The Clippers have filled out their final roster spot - and it’s with a backup point guard, as expected.

NBA: OCT 13 Preseason - Melbourne Utd at Clippers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Per Andrew Greif of the LA Times, the Clippers have signed point guard Derrick Walton Jr. to a non-guaranteed (presumably minimum) deal. Walton joined the team in Summer League, where he impressed with his competency and overall effort, earning an Exhibit 10 deal with the Clippers. In training camp and preseason, he was the only “non-roster” player to get significant playing time, clearly a cut above the rest of the training camp invitees as well as serving a far greater use to the Clippers as a point guard. Now, he’s made the Clippers roster, albeit tenuously as a non-guaranteed contract on a team likely to make moves.

As I wrote about in his season preview, Walton is a steady presence on the court on both ends. His lack of size and top-tier athleticism will prevent him from ever being a star or probably even starter in the NBA, but he’s quick, can shoot (37.7% from three in G-League in 2018 on high volume), is a solid playmaker, and is surprisingly tough defensively. Most importantly, Walton rarely makes mistakes, a good attribute for a point guard to have, and one especially important on the Clippers, a team on which the point guards will mostly be relied upon to simply get the team into sets and then go with the flow. Walton’s shooting and ability to play off-ball makes him a nice fit with the Clippers offense, and his ability to apply on-ball pressure will serve as a nice replacement for Pat Beverley’s services defensively (though he’s nowhere close to Pat, of course).

Terance Mann and Landry Shamet’s struggles getting the Clippers’ offense into motion in preseason, along with Walton’s own solid play, made this a fairly easy decision for the Clippers. They lose a slight amount of flexibility in the short term, but can always waive Walton if need be, as his contract is non-guaranteed. Congrats to Walton on a well-deserved promotion to the regular season roster! With that, the Clippers’ roster is complete, and ready to go. Let’s get this started!