Monday night was an evening with the stars for the Los Angeles Clippers in Seattle. With Supersonics royalty watching on, Kawhi Leonard returned to action for the first time in 476 days, while John Wall made his own comeback after sitting out the entirety of last season in Houston. Yet, despite being surrounded by such basketball greatness, it was Amir Coffey’s performance against the Blazers that really stood out, especially to fans looking at pre-season games for insight into how the upcoming campaign will pan out.
Coffey played such a big role last season with so many of the team’s stars sidelined, averaging 9 per night points on good efficiency during his 22.7 minutes per game and scoring some big highlights plays during some of the Clippers’ most important games. If his two preseason appearances are anything to go by, it seems that even with the aforementioned top-tier talent coming back into the fold, he’s determined to pick up where he left off.
What is the best-case scenario for Coffey?
Well, he picks up where he left off. If Coffey can continue to prove himself to be a reliable three-and-D wing, there’s no reason he can’t remain a genuine rotational player. Though his job has been made slightly harder by the addition of Robert Covington to go alongside Nicolas Batum and Marcus Morris Sr. as Ty Lue’s options at the four, when those guys inevitably have to slide over to play some five, those minutes are going to open up.
Above all, though, his best case is that he continues to give Brian Sieman good reason to produce more coffee-based puns and help further cement himself as a fan favorite in the 213.
What is the worst-case outcome?
That he becomes a victim of that log jam of big wings the Clippers have potentially created and sees his minutes plummet as a result. Though he is clearly considered a part of the franchise’s future, their short-term goals will still take precedence, and the amount of experience on the roster means it’s possible that Coffey could become little more than a ‘bench hype guy’.
A huge drop in minutes could see his production dip and before you know it, a career that was firmly on the rise could start to look a little decaffeinated.
What do you think is the most-likely role for Coffey?
Truth be told, it would take Ty Lue rotating his lineups an awful lot to get Coffey anywhere near the minutes he found himself on the floor last season. However, in terms of impact and progression, it’s easy to see how the Folgers Soldier can maintain his upward trajectory.
He’ll likely be the leader of the Clippers’ third-string team, but that will make him one of the first of that group to step up into second-choice minutes when needed. His plug-and-play approach will help him make the most of those minutes and continue to make a splash with the fans.