Angel Delgado was signed to a two-way deal the night of the 2018 NBA draft by the Clippers, a sign of how much they liked the center from Seton Hall. The Clippers’ trading for Marcin Gortat, re-signing of Montrezl Harrell, and bringing in of Johnathan Motley on another two-way made it unlikely that Delgado would get many NBA minutes this season, and he has not. Delgado has only received 15 minutes with the LA Clippers in two games, and will be in a suit for the rest of the season and postseason. However, that doesn’t mean his rookie season has been a failure.
In fact, Delgado has thrived in his first professional season, playing almost the entire season with the Agua Caliente Clippers, and winning the G League Rookie of the Year a couple days ago. The award was voted on by 27 head coaches and general managers, and honors the strongest season by a first-year professional. While the vote counts are not known, Delgado came on top, and while it’s not exactly the NBA MVP, it’s still a great award for Angel.
Angel averaged 18.5 points and 14.7 rebounds per game (leading the G-League) in 33.4 minutes, and added 2.7 assists and 1.1 blocks as well. While Angel was a virtual non-factor from three (8-31 on the season) and didn’t shoot all that well from the line (61.2%), he was a very efficient scorer due to his 63.8% shooting from two-point range, and got the Agua Caliente Clippers within a game of making the playoffs, unfortunately falling just short.
Delgado’s not the most skillful player, and doesn’t have NBA-level range, but his scoring in the post and rebounding are next level. In fact, his 648 rebounds are the second-most ever in a single G-League season, a mark to how dominant he is on the boards. While Delgado has limitations, his strengths could well get him a real role in the NBA at some point. Another point in Angel’s favor: the history of G-League Rookie of the Year winners. While a few of them (Desmond Penigar? Edwin Ubiles?) are anonymous and didn’t have NBA careers, there are also recognizable names such as Lou Amundson, Alonzo Gee, and Will Bynum, all of whom had solid journeyman NBA careers, and even a borderline NBA star in Robert Covington. Being a standout young player in one of the best non-NBA leagues in the world can’t be a bad sign for future NBA success.
The Clippers seem to have a two-headed combination at center for years to come in Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac. However, Angel is certainly a possibility to be the third-string center for the Clippers, and could be a nice backup against certain opponents depending on matchups. The Clippers’ establishment of their own G-League team has really borne fruit the last couple years, and Angel is just the latest reminder of that. Congrats to Angel on winning the G-League Rookie of the Year Award!
Editor’s Note: Angel was also selected to the All G-League 1st Team, the G-League All-Defense Team, and the Rookie 1st Team. Fellow two-way player Johnathan Motley made the All G-League 2nd Team.