The Clippers played the Kings in a game of basketball that was semi-entertaining. They led for most of the game, but not for very much, and only put it away in the closing seconds with a shot by Amir Coffey. Terance Mann, the Clips best player in Summer League thus far, did not play in this one due to an injured finger.
- Amir Coffey shows out – This was a near-spectacular performance from Coffey. He hit the game-sealing shot for the Clippers with just a few seconds left, rounding out an impressive line of 19 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and just 1 turnover. He created shots for teammates with smart passing on the perimeter and drive and kicks, and only forced his own shot a couple times. His rebounding was a nice boon without the services of Terance Mann, with the rebounding amplified by Coffey’s using his athleticism to push the ball hard in transition. Once out in the open court, Coffey was a menace, powering through contact or using finesse moves to clear space to finish. Amir’s outside shooting remains a weakness (1-5), but there’s clearly an NBA player there due to his size, athleticism, and good scoring instincts. If he can play within himself and develop a respectable outside shot, the Clippers could have a steal.
- Jerome Robinson inconsistent once more – After a strong outing in Game 3, Jerome Robinson reverted to previous form in this one. He was aggressive attacking the basket early, and started the game 3-4 from the field, including a drained three. Unfortunately, he was 1-9 the rest of the way, bricking most of his shots, and struggling once more to finish around the rim. He just doesn’t appear to have the strength or explosion to finish inside right now, and while that can be fixed, it’s still worrying. Equally as nerve-wracking were Jerome’s turnovers (he had five), almost all of which were unforced, and due to sloppy ballhandling or passing. Jerome hasn’t been bad in summer league per se, but he’s also singularly failed to separate himself from the pack outside of his shooting, and that’s not great for a second-year lottery pick. This is not to write him off by any means, but this can’t have been the performance that the Clippers were hoping for.
- Mfiondu Kabengele keeps it up – While Fi finished only 3-13 from the field in this one, I thought he played pretty well. He drew 10 free throws, and made 8 of them, a good sign for such an athletic, physical, energetic player who likes to go the hoop. Fi also pulled down nine rebounds, which helped the Clippers survive without the rebounding services of Mann. I also thought his defense was better in this one – he fouled a lot and didn’t have any blocks, but rotated a bit sharper, and defended well on the perimeter when caught on switches. He will need to get stronger to finish inside, and he remains a bit shot-happy, but Fi looks quite good overall.
- David Michineau has best performance as Clipper – Michineau got the start because Terance Mann sat the game out with rest, and took the opportunity to heart, putting together his strongest effort as a Clipper in his 4th Summer League. He had a few awful takes, especially some contested floaters early in the shot clock, but also had some nice drives and showed great anticipation on defense (three steals). David got to the rim, forced some fouls, and constantly pushed the pace. The good news is that he has the quicks to get to the basket on a pretty consistent basis. The bad news is that he lacks vision and has no confidence in his outside shot, neither of which bodes well for his career in the NBA as a point guard. Michy is certainly an interesting player due to his athleticism and defense, but he just doesn’t seem quite there.
- Kaiser Gates looks solid – Gates getting his second start in a row and playing 27 minutes (more than any other non-Clippers affiliate) is a good sign for him. A better one is that he made the most of his opportunities, swishing three triples, including two huge ones later in the 4th quarter. He also battled on the boards, grabbing seven of them, and hustled all over the court doing the little things. Gates doesn’t offer much besides three-point shooting and some rebounding, but for a 6’8 wing, that’s plenty. I think he’s the odds-on favorite to grab the second two-way spot right now, if the Clippers want to fill it with someone from SL at all.
- Derrick Walton Jr. plays just 10 minutes – After a fairly strong Summer League thus far, highlighted mostly by simple, steady play, Walton had a bit of a disappointing night. He nailed his only long-ball attempt, and played his usual active defense, but didn’t create much for others, and got swallowed up inside by the Kings’ size. He’s still been better than most of the Clippers’ “other guys”, but this was not a good enough performance to seal a two-way deal, and Walton’s chances at such a contract might be slipping.
Despite the Clippers winning tonight, by my calculations, their margin of victory (three points) will not be enough to get them into the Summer League tournament. Therefore, the Summer Clips will play one more game tomorrow at 5:30 PM PT against the Pacers before disbanding. It would have been cool if the Clippers could have made a run at the “title”, but it is what it is. With absolutely no stakes left in the next game, it’s possible the Clippers rest even more of their rostered players besides Mann. Hopefully they don’t, so we get at least one last look at some real NBA players before the NBA truly goes on vacation for the next two months.