Yo. I’m in Nevada – but I have nothing to say about Las Vegas Summer League, so I figure I hit you all with a bridge from Orlando to Los Angeles real quick. There’s a few things to touch on, so let’s get the gloves and go in already:
– Brandon held down the first three Summer League contests that the Clippers played. They played two more to end the week, and if you missed them, good for you. The game against the Orlando Magic “White” team started well enough for the Clippers, as they went on a series of runs to take a 27-16 lead at the end of the 1st quarter and a 46-38 lead at halftime. Clippers 2016 1st-round pick PF Brice Johnson had 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field in the first half. In the second half, the Clippers were ran out of the gym, getting outscored 41-23 to lose the game 79-69. At one point in the third quarter, the Magic White squad went on a 16-0 run. Orlando White C Arinze Onuaku finished with 15 points (6/9 FGs), 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in a game that saw the Clippers record only eight assists and 20 turnovers.
– The next day, the Orlando Summer League came to a merciful end for the Clippers. The New York Knicks won only two games, but both of them came against Los Angeles. While the first contest between the two teams featured a blown lead and wasteful possessions down the stretch in what was ultimately an overtime loss, the Friday finale of the event was a beatdown from start to finish. The Knicks began the game on a 21-7 run, and became the only team to drop more than 100 points in Orlando, defeating the Clippers 106-77. New York SG Ron Baker finished the game with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 4-of-6 threes, and 7-of-13 from the field overall. Johnson and fellow Clippers rookie, PG David Michineau, were not as impressive.
– Last time I was here, I mentioned that the Clippers’ own free agents represented quantity but not a lot of quality. Here’s an update:
– Backup C Cole Aldrich (1.1 blocks per game) (going home to Minnesota)
– Bench PF Jeff Ayres
– Sixth Man of the Year SG Jamal Crawford (1.5 threes per game) (Returning on 3-year deal)
– PF Jeff Green (
– Backup SF Wesley Johnson (1.1 steals per game) (Returning on 3-year deal)
– Starting SF Luc Mbah a Moute (Returning on 2-year deal)
– 3rd-string PG Pablo Prigioni
– Backup PG Austin Rivers (Returning on 3-year deal)
– So that’s nice. The Clippers lost out on Green and that future first round pick, so Mbah a Moute figures to slide back into his role as the starting SF. Crawford, Rivers, and Johnson returning means that the Clippers will retain chemistry on the bench – they better hope that Crawford doesn’t age, Rivers produces at a level close to Crawford, and Johnson plays with more confidence. With Green out, Paul Pierce may be the backup at PF, at least until Johnson shows he is not JuJuan Johnson. (Pierce is rumored to be returning for the second year of his 3-year deal signed in 2015.) Michineau is the nominal replacement for Prigioni, which is not ideal at all for reasons expressed above; Dan Woike suggests that the Clippers would still sign a minimum salary veteran PGand that third string SF Branden Dawson’s roster spot would be at risk. The Clippers should keep Dawson and send Michineau overseas if it comes to that. Also worth noting that SG C.J. Wilcox is recovering from a right hand fracture. Because Clippers.