Per Real GM’s transaction log and Jovan Buha of the Athletic, the Clippers have signed point guard Derrick Walton Jr. to an Exhibit 10 deal. Walton, 24, played with the Clippers in Summer League, and impressed with his steady, consistent play. Walton went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft after spending four years at the University of Michigan, where he set several school records, and made two All Big-10 Teams.
In the summer of 2017, Walton was signed to a two-way deal by the Miami Heat, and played 16 games with the Heat in the 2017-2018 season. He saw only garbage time minutes there, bu excelled in the G-League. In 27 games for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Walton averaged 16.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 1.4 steals per game, with impressive 44.2/37.7/90.2 splits. He was not tendered an offer by the Heat that summer, so became an unrestricted free agent. Walton signed with the Bulls in training camp, but was waived in preseason. He then played with Zalgiris Kaunas and Alba Berlin, two EuroLeague-level teams, for the 2018-2019 season, where he mostly served as a reserve.
While only 6’0 tall, Walton is in the “Pat Beverley mold” as a tough, gritty point guard who rebounds well for his size and gets after it on defense. He’s also a very good outside shooter (he took 5.6 of them in the G-League and hit at a solid rate), and can play off-ball if needed. In short, he’s a competent floor general who will not do much exceptional, but won’t make mistakes and can stick shots.
For those who have forgotten, an Exhibit 10 deal is essentially a non-guaranteed minimum deal that can be converted to a two-way contract. It also usually comes with a bonus, which is granted either if the contract is converted to a two-way or if the player joins the NBA affiliate G-League team after they’re waived. Essentially, it’s a spruced-up training camp deal with some incentive to stay in the organization.
Walton is fairly unlikely to play much a role for the Clippers this season. While he’s a steady presence, it’s doubtful if the Clippers would trust him with minutes in a season where they’re trying to win a championship. Instead, this is probably a move to see how Walton performs in training camp, and to get him to Agua Caliente for further grooming and observation. Walton is a good point guard with a strong pedigree, and should be, at the very least, a cool addition to Agua Caliente. It would not shock me if he made the roster as a third-string point guard, but it depends on how the rest of the roster shakes out. Nonetheless, this is another nice move by the Clippers.