Where: Cox Pavilion, Las Vegas, Nevada
When: 7:00 PM PT
How to watch: NBA TV
Projected Starting Lineups
Kings: Semaj Christon - Kyle Guy - Justin James - Hollis Thompson - Wenyen Gabriel
Clippers: Terance Mann - Jerome Robinson - Amir Coffey - Kaiser Gates - Mfiondu Kabengele
Clippers: Terance Mann Finger (Probable)
Things to Watch
- Will the Clippers rest any players: As Summer League drags along, more and more of the rostered NBA players sit so as to not risk injury. The Clippers have four players that will be on their roster one way or another this year: Jerome Robinson, Mfiondu Kabengele, Terance Mann, and Amir Coffey. It would not be surprising if at least one of those players were to sit at some point in the remainder of Summer League, with Robinson and Mann being the most likely candidates. Not only does this protect the players the Clippers are most interested in, but it also gives a greater opportunity to players who do not have a spot on an NBA roster, and who therefore need the exposure more. I think all of those young guys need reps, so I wouldn’t mind them playing all of Summer League, but I can understand if the Clippers rest them a bit.
- Ball movement and unselfishness: The Clippers win over the Wizards on Tuesday was one of the most impressive performances of Summer League. While the Clippers had more talent, they also looked like a more cohesive unit, and played strong, coordinated basketball on both sides of the ball. In other words, they looked like an actual team, which is highly unusual for Summer League. Coach Brian Adams spoke after the game about how it was important for the Clippers to get the ball moving, and it will be interesting to see if they can keep that momentum going forward in this game. Generally, players in Summer League tend to be a bit selfish, as they want to get their stats up for a team to notice them, but the Clippers have generally avoided that, which says a lot about the unselfishness of the guys on the team.
- Potential two-way additions: Amir Coffey impressed the Clippers enough in his first two games to earn a two-way contract, while Terance Mann secured two guaranteed years in his rookie contract. However, other players have impressed as well in Vegas. Derrick Walton Jr. has consistently been a positive presence for the Clippers, a steady hand at point guard who can shoot, play tough defense, and avoid mistakes. Kaiser Gates has provided some shooting for the Clippers on the wing, and has demonstrated a nose for rebounds. I think Walton is probably the better player right now, and has a higher NBA floor, but Gates has the rarer skillset. 6’8 wings who can shoot threes at a really high volume with good percentages do not grow on trees, and Gates has shown enough in other areas to look like he won’t get played off the court. Walton is good, but there are plenty of solid-enough backup point guards. I still lean towards Walton as possibly providing more value to the Clippers this season on a two-way deal due to their lack of point guard depth, but Gates is probably the better long-term investment. Either would be a good addition to the Clippers’ roster. Nigel Hayes and David Michineau have also shown flashes of NBA talent, but not as much as the other two, and would need a really strong close to Summer League to put themselves in discussion for a two-way deal in my opinion.
- Win or go home (kind of): This is the final game of the “preliminary round” of Summer League, and could decide the Clippers’ fate in the tournament. If they win, they will be 3-1, and will make the Final 8 tournament, with a chance to play as many as three more games. If they lose, they will be in the consolation bracket and will play just one more game. Winning the tournament itself doesn’t matter at all, but it would be cool to see a bit more Clippers’ basketball before the dog days of August and September, so hopefully the Clips pull off a victory tonight against the Kings.
This will also serve as the game thread for tonight’s contest, so comment on the game and any other Clippers-related topics below!