The Clippers made two picks in the 2020 NBA Draft, but their work wasn’t done after the 60th selection was announced. The team signed at least one player to a training camp deal, and may have also brought in his college teammate to join him.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the Clippers signed Jordan Ford to an Exhibit 10 deal. The report was later confirmed by Andrew Greif of the L.A. Times.
Undrafted free agent Jordan Ford of Saint Mary’s — WCC leading scorer and 12th in nation — signing with the Los Angeles Clippers on an Exhibit 10 deal, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 19, 2020
An Exhibit 10 deal means that Ford will report to training camp with the Clippers, and if gets waived and lands with the G League team, he’ll earn an additional $50,000, which is higher than the maximum G League salary. It’s unclear how that provision will apply this year, since the format of the G League isn’t set for this upcoming season, but presumably there will still be a financial benefit to an Exhibit 10 contract versus a regular training-camp deal.
Ford was one of the best guards in the country this season. Although he is point-guard size at 6’1, Ford was the leading scorer on the team and in the conference and accomplished that quite efficiently. He converted 54.1 percent of his 2-pointers and 41.1 percent of his 3-pointers, and those senior-year numbers weren’t outliers. For his career, Ford shot 53.4 percent from inside the arc and 41.6 percent outside of it. Despite having a high usage rate, Ford’s turnover rate was fairly microscopic.
There is a short history of Saint Mary’s guards succeeding in the NBA, as both Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova have carved out long careers as backups, though both are still NBA champions. Perhaps Ford can be a bench player who finds similar success with the Clippers.
Ford’s Gaels teammate Malik Fitts tweeted “Clipper nation let’s get it” around the time that the Ford signing was announced. This was interpreted in some circles as Fitts also joining the Clippers for training camp, but it could just be a show of support for Ford’s NBA dream. Fitts’ former AAU team also appeared to confirm the rumor that Fitts is joining the Clippers, on another Exhibit 10 deal.
West Coast Elite alum Malik Fitts has signed a exhibit 10 contract with the Los Angeles Clippers after the completion of the NBA Draft last night. We are excited for Malik and his new opportunity! #ALLIN pic.twitter.com/2Al1VL8ay6— West Coast Elite (@wceua) November 19, 2020
If the Clippers are indeed signing Fitts, they are getting a combo forward who also shoots the ball at a high level. At 6’8, Fitts shot 40.7 percent on 4.4 3-point attempts per game over two seasons at Saint Mary’s (he transferred there from South Florida). He was the team’s leading rebounder and excelled on the defensive end.
It will be a tall task to make the Clippers roster as an undrafted player, but Ford and Fitts don’t have to look too far back for inspiration. Amir Coffey was undrafted, signed a two-way contract with the team, and was on the 15-man roster in Orlando during the NBA restart. The Clippers will reward production, no matter the source. This is just the beginning for these two Gaels.