Tuesday night’s win over the San Antonio Spurs came with a whole host of wholesome content, on top of another big win for the Los Angeles Clippers. Coach Ty Lue was typically stone-faced as he bemoaned the number of turnovers his team committed, yet the players still allowed themselves to get carried away in the moments that followed the final matchup of their six-game home stand.
With Terance Mann sitting on the sidelines in street clothes and Justise Winslow on paternity leave — Justise, if you’re reading this, I’m really missing the morning quotes — a couple of the younger guys were drafted into the rotation in their place. Amir Coffey was the first and showed a lot of industry in his 24 minutes, doing his chances of earning even more time on court little harm. However, it was Brandon Boston Jr. who took full advantage of the opportunity, and Paul George led the team in celebrating the rookie’s big night accordingly.
While it was George who once again led the Clippers to their eighth win in nine games, Boston enjoyed something of a coming out party for those lucky enough to be in attendance. He filled up the stat sheet with 13 points on 57/50/100 shooting splits, alongside four rebounds, one assist, one steal and just one turnover in almost 20 minutes of play.
It’s a familiar statline on a much bigger stage for the University of Kentucky alum, who averaged 11.5 points on a similar number of attempts, as well as 4.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals, in his solo year in college. On top of that, through four games for the Agua Caliente Clippers, he has averaged 13.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists, though he did take more shots amid his struggles with the extra attention he received at G-League level — as he admitted himself in his post-game media availability.
In fact, Tuesday night’s press conferences were dominated by talk of Boston, including this gem from George: “I think again you’re going to see him be special in the league just because you’re seeing it now. It’s not like a guy that’s just out there going through the motions, taking care of the ball. Like, he’s looking for his shots when they’re there, he’s looking to be aggressive when he gets it and he’s making plays defensively. He’s guarding guys, it’s just a lot of good things that you see and I think it’s only going to be good for him in the future, he’s going to get better and better.”
Brandon has already shown flashes of just how good he can be during his time with the Clippers, proving himself to be a walking bucket as early as Summer League. As a five-star recruit coming out of high school, he struggled with the adaptation to collegiate level which saw his draft stock fall, but it looks like the Clippers may have found a diamond in the rough.
At 19 years old, it’s not too harsh to say he is still rough around the edges. Although his offensive game looks completely natural, the defensive side comes a little less instinctively, though his length does make him a capable off-ball defender and gives his coaches something to work with at the very least. His slender frame could also be classed as a problem, but his confidence with the ball in his hands could negate what he lacks in terms of physicality.
Luckily for Boston, there are few better places to round off his game. Seeing the way he and George interacted after the game was a positive sign for the kind of mentorship he can tap into within this squad, and who better to turn to for all-round play than the guy who currently sits third in the NBA for scoring while doing a bit of everything else on the floor. That coupled with the sideline expertise of Kawhi Leonard and the work of the franchise’s development staff could have a huge impact on the Clippers’ 51st pick.
The unity displayed during the playoffs seems to have only got stronger this season, and the celebrations that surrounded Boston’s big night proved that. With the veterans showing they have his back, on top of being perfect on court-role models to set an example he can follow, he’s in the perfect spot to make good on the potential that was once seen in him.