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L.A. Clippers 2019-2020 Player Previews: Amir Coffey

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The player preview series rolls along with rookie two-way forward Amir Coffey.

NBA: Summer League-Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Clippers Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Basic Information:

Height: 6’8”

Weight: 210 pounds

Position: SF/PF

Age: 22

Years of NBA Experience: Rookie

Key Stats: Averaged 16.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game in 35.2 minutes in his junior season at Minnesota. Shot 43.6% from the field, 30.4% from three, and 74% from the free throw line.

Contract Status: Two-way contract

Expectations:

There are no expectations for Amir Coffey this season, at least as pertaining to the LA Clippers. Coffey will most likely be a forward-hybrid in the NBA, and that’s the precise position where the Clippers are deepest. The Clippers have a half dozen veteran (and star) players in line for minutes at any of the positions where Coffey might play his rookie season, making it exceedingly unlikely he cracks the rotation at any point outside of (knocks on wood) a case of extreme injury or load management. Coffey will likely spend much of his time in Ontario with the Agua Caliente Clippers, and there, he should dominate. He was worthy of a 2nd round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and his scoring abilities and athleticism should make him a devastating offensive player at that level. If called to the NBA, expect Coffey to get in some buckets but probably not much else yet.

Strengths:

Coffey can score. A long athlete with explosion and some versatility on offense, Amir was one of the better pure scorers in the Big 10 as a junior, and he shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring at the next level. Amir loves to attack, utilizing his size and athleticism to get to the rim and draw fouls. While he’ll need to improve his handle to get there anywhere near as much in the pros, Coffey should still be able to make his way to the hoop on a fairly frequent basis. Nor is scoring the be-all, end-all of Coffey’s offensive repertoire. While not exactly LeBron James, he’s a solid playmaker for a bigger wing, and is more than capable of running a pick and roll or leading a fastbreak. On defense, while Coffey is not exactly a stopper, he at least has the size to guard multiple positions, which is always valuable.

Weaknesses:

Right now, Amir’s biggest weakness is his outside shot. For all his scoring prowess, Coffey is not good enough to be a primary scorer or playmaker in the NBA, which means he will need to play off the ball – which means he will need to shoot. Unfortunately, he hit only 30.4% of his threes his junior year, and although he made 36.8% his sophomore year, the sample size was fairly small and from college range anyhow. Coffey’s solid-enough free throw shooting bodes decently for his touch, so he might become a fine NBA shooter eventually, but I wouldn’t expect that to happen his first year. Another big weakness is rebounding, as despite his size and athleticism, Coffey logged pretty poor numbers on the boards throughout college. If he’s ever going to play up positionally in the NBA, which is where his ultimate role might be, he’ll need to step up on the glass.

Coffey is a legitimate NBA prospect due to his physical traits and ability to score the ball. Sadly, his true NBA rookie season will probably have to wait, as the Clippers’ crowded wing rotation and championship expectations will mean extremely limited opportunities for the former University of Minnesota star.