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Clippers In Review: Jason Preston learned from the sidelines

Despite a season-ending injury, this Clippers rookie refused to allow the year to go to waste.

San Antonio Spurs v LA Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to Clippers In Review, where we’ll recap the season for every player that ended the season in Los Angeles. Next up: Jason Preston.

From high school benchwarmer, to Twitter-viral highlight tape, and eventually to a collegiate standout, Jason Preston is now a Los Angeles Clipper.

Before he could officially suit up for the Clippers, however, Preston, perhaps the team’s most impressive young prospect during the 2021 Summer League exhibition games, suffered a season-ending injury just days before training camp. Despite being forced to undergo surgery and subjected to the sideline for his rookie season, Preston continued to refine his skills and intellect in preparation for the 2022-2023 season and beyond.

With his eyes on the basketball court, Preston is constantly working on his understanding of the game. His biggest strength when drafted, his passing ability and creativity as a playmaker, hinges on this ability to read and analyze both the Clippers offense and the opposing defense. And garnering high praise from coaches and teammates alike already, I’m excited to see Preston’s eyes, brain, and ability to fire a quick, on-target pass in action.

And his biggest weaknesses, his jumper and athleticism, are points for constant improvement as well. Preston can often be found on the basketball court working on his shot with Assistant coaches, or in the weight room building an a frame more well-equipped for the physicality of the NBA.

And in that same vein, Preston, the perennial learner that he is, recently graduated from Ohio University. This manner of capitalizing on opportunities is a look into the mindset of a player that constantly wants to get better, in all facets of his life.

Moving forward, the Clippers could certainly use the young prospect’s playmaking abilities. He may have just been the best pure playmaker on the Clippers bench last season (as much as I love Isaiah Hartenstein), and if he is able to perform, those skills will certainly be in high demand for a team who ranked in the bottom half in terms of both average assists per game and assist percentage, last season. With their eye on the championship next season, however, Preston may not have as much breathing room to make mistakes and the Clippers have been rumored to be in the market this offseason for a proven, backup playmaker. Still, Lue has shown a willingness to experiment with different lineups and the Clippers developmental staff has shown their ability to coax out the best from their young players.

Preston, entering his second year in the league but first year playing, remains a prospect. Don’t be surprised, however, if Preston cracks the rotation next season, even with a fully healthy and loaded Clippers team.