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Clippers In Review: Amir Coffey proved he belongs

The 2021-22 season was a year of growth for many—Amir Coffey is no exception.

Los Angeles Clippers v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Welcome to Clippers In Review, where we’ll be recapping the season for every player that ended the season in Los Angeles. Next up, we have Amir Coffey, a third-year Clipper who has transformed from a two-way player to a fan favorite.

For casual observers, Coffey is not a name that would be recognizable. He flies under the radar for reasons that Clipper fans might find hard to understand. Perhaps it’s his style of play, rooted in fundamentals that get the job done without much flash. It could be the fact that he’s been a rostered Clipper for three years, seeing the court for an average of nine minutes in just 62 games prior to the start of this season. Either way, it’s clear that Coffey’s game matured quite rapidly throughout this season, leading Ty Lue to start him in 30 games. That experiment was largely a success, resulting in performances like his 32-point outing against the Bucks.

His season averages might not look particularly impressive at first glance, but considering the sporadic injuries of the team’s most valuable players, Coffey’s ability to take advantage of his opportunities might be even more impressive. He used his time to show off not just his three-level scoring abilities, but his remarkable defense which leads one to believe that he’s studied the defensive prowess of teammate Nico Batum. Coffey’s playmaking skills were also highlighted amidst the team’s struggles without a backup point guard—Coffey might not be a natural playmaker, but his versatility on offense promises to be an important tool to employ alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George next season.

It might be difficult to convince all NBA fans of Amir Coffey’s legitimacy, but the good thing is that he will likely have another year on the Clippers to show the league what he can do. Late in the season, the team converted Coffey’s two-way contract into a standard one, hoping he’d be able to contribute in the playoffs. That didn’t work out, but the roughly $1.5 million qualifying offer that the Clippers are offering him for the 2022-23 season turns him into a restricted free agent, meaning the Clippers have the opportunity to match any contract any other team offers. Considering Coffey’s immense growth and fit on a team that values versatility, there is no reason for the Clippers’ organization (and Steve Ballmer’s wallet) to let him go, a comforting thought for Clipper hopefuls ahead of next season.