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Clippers 2018-2019 Exit Interviews: Angel Delgado

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The Clippers’ rookie two-way big man barely played in the NBA, but was excellent in the G-League.

Los Angeles Clippers Media Day Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Key Information:

Name: Angel Delgado

Age: 24

Years in NBA: 1

Position: Center

Key Stats: Played only 15 minutes over two games in the NBA, all in garbage time

Over 44 games in the G-League, averaged 18.5 points, 14.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.1 blocks in 33.4 minutes per game. Shot 61.8% from the field, 25.8% from three (0.7 attempts per game), and 61.2% from the free throw line (3.9 attempts).

2018-2019 Salary: Two-way contract (roughly $100k)

Future Contract Status: Two-way contract for 2019-2020

Awards: G-League Rookie of the Year, All G-League First Team

Summary:

The Clippers signed Angel Delgado to a two-way deal the night of the 2018 NBA Draft, showing just how much they liked the big man from Seton Hall. However, with the trade for Marcin Gortat and then Johnathan Motley, it was apparent that Delgado would not receive much (if any) time with the LA Clippers. And that’s exactly what happened. Unlike Ty Wallace, Jamil Wilson, or CJ Williams the season before, or even Motley, Delgado spent almost the entire season in the G-League, coming up mostly just to get him some extra money at the NBA minimum salary and to practice with the “big league team”. He played a lot in Agua Caliente, however, and was so good down there that he was named the G-League Rookie of the Year, and also made the G-League First Team. Unfortunately, the AC Clippers just missed out on the playoffs, so Angel didn’t get any professional postseason experience, but he got a lot of reps in against solid competition (obviously way better than NCAA) and excelled.

Strengths:

Angel Delgado would have been an awesome big man 20, or even 10 years ago. He’s an incredible rebounder, using size and technique to box out opponents, and then his height and athleticism to bring them down in copious quantities. On the offensive glass, he’s a master at getting good position and reading the angle of the ball, making him a force to be reckoned with. Add to all that an ability to go up strong around the rim and a soft touch near the basket, and he’s a very traditional center who can board, dunk, and score around the basket. One other nifty skill is that he’s a good passer, able to make interior dishes or passing from the elbow or top of the key. Finally, he’s not quite a top level athlete, but he can run pretty hard, and is able to get easy buckets in transition that way.

Weaknesses:

Angel has the strengths of a traditional big man, but also the weaknesses. While not plodding of foot, he doesn’t have the lateral quickness to switch onto smaller players out on the perimeter, a near must for most NBA players. And, while he’s a fairly big body in the paint and tries hard, his defensive instincts just aren’t great. So, while he’s not a huge liability defensively, he’s also not a plus. Offensively, he can score around the rim, but his lack of a jumpshot (8-31 from three in the G-League) is problematic. If he can become adequate from out there, it would open up his post/interior game substantially. As it is, he’s fine against more traditional lineups, but probably can’t hang against modern NBA lineups, which are smaller and quicker, though he could possibly punish them in the paint offensively.

Future with Clippers:

Angel is either signed for next year on a two-way deal (I think he is), or is a restricted free agent this summer and can easily be brought back on a two-way contract. At the very least, he seems like a good enough rebounder and paint scorer to be an adequate 3rd center in the NBA, so at his cost and use of a roster spot, there’s good reason to bring him back behind Montrezl Harrell and (presumably) Ivica Zubac. He’s not a lock for next year’s team, but he could very well be back with a slightly larger NBA role.

Final Grade: B-

Since Angel barely played any minutes at all for the Clippers this season, this grade is more based on what he did in the G-League. While Angel was great in Agua Caliente, he stood out in ways which don’t make me super confident about his NBA future. He’s an awesome rebounder, which is always helpful, but he mostly scored by overpowering players in the post, which isn’t really a go-to in the NBA. His passing ability is nice, and makes his post play more of an option, but just like teammate Jon Motley, his defensive deficiencies worry me.