Basic Information

Name: Derrick Walton Jr.

Age: 25

Years in NBA: 1

Position: Point Guard

Key Stats: 2.2 points, 0.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 0.2 steals in 9.7 minutes per game on 47.2/42.9/77.8 shooting splits.

2019-2020 Salary: $1,445,697


Derrick Walton Jr. joined the Clippers in the 2019 NBA Summer League, where he quickly earned a role as a key contributor due to his steady play and shooting ability. While he didn’t have the impressive stats of Clippers’ rookie Terrance Mann, his ability to control the pace of play as a lead guard while also shifting off ball seemed transferable to the NBA. The Clippers agreed, and signed him to a training camp deal shortly thereafter. He was the only camp invitee (not on a regular NBA contract) who received real playing time, making it all the way through camp and onto the regular season roster.

Walton only played in a few games in garbage time during the first couple months of the season, but was pressed into the rotation in early December due to injuries and the failures of Jerome Robinson and Mann. He only gained more minutes, culminating in a back-to-back stretch in mid-December when he played a combined 60 minutes. While he rarely put up big stat lines, the team regularly played better when he was in the game, and there were several games where he legitimately helped the Clippers pull out victories. Doc Rivers and the Clippers’ veterans clearly trusted him, which earned Walton some endgame minutes even when the team had more established players ahead of him.

Walton then faded from the rotation a bit as the Clippers got healthy, although he returned briefly around New Year when injuries spiked. After January 4th, he returned to garbage time duties and the end of the bench, sitting out his last half dozen games as a Clip entirely. Then, on February 6th, he was traded to Atlanta for a heavily protected future 2nd round pick, in anticipation for the Clippers’ deadline moves. He was waived by the Hawks, but then signed a 10 day with the Pistons, and played in several games with them before the NBA season was postponed by Coronavirus.


Derrick’s greatest strength is that he rarely ever makes mistakes. He’s a very smart basketball player on both ends of the court, constantly in the right place at the right time. On offense, he’s fully capable of getting an NBA team into sets, controlling the flow of action and making sure the team is calm and running their plays. Similarly, he’s very sure handed, rarely turning the ball over (he boasted a 5:1 assist to turnover ratio on the Clips), a huge advantage for any player, but especially for a point guard. Off the ball, he’s a legitimate three-point shooter that defenses must respect, and is comfortable playing off-ball alongside other ball-handlers. While not someone who looks for his shot, he can also create a bit, especially in the midrange off of pick and rolls.

On defense, he’s a tenacious battler who plays up on opposing ball-handlers for the full 94 feet, and keeps offensive players on their toes. More importantly, he’s an intelligent team defender, rotating correctly within the defensive scheme to take away open shots and forcing the offense to struggle. Despite his lack of size, he’s also a terrific rebounder, utilizing his basketball instincts to beat other players to the ball. Finally, Walton brings the intangibles – he never stops moving, dives on the floor for loose balls, and communicates frequently with teammates.


Walton’s primary weakness is that he’s not really much of an offensive threat with the ball in his hands. Small and lacking athleticism, Walton can’t get to the rim very well against a set defense, and has real issues finishing around the basket. When teams need a basket, he’s not a guy who can consistently get one. His struggles with creating and getting to the bucket also limits his playmaking – while he doesn’t turn the ball over and makes smart passes, he also doesn’t create many easy looks for his teammates. Defensively, while he is a pest and plays smart, his size limitations mean he can only guard point guards and is frequently at a size disadvantage even at that position. While steady, he has no significant strengths outside of that very consistency.

Future with Clippers

The Clippers (including top players such as Lou Williams and Paul George, as well as Coach Doc Rivers) had nothing but glowing things to say about Walton. His professionalism, readiness for every game, and ability to play alongside all kinds of players were notable, and he’s not someone who will cause waves for lack of playing time. In short, he’s a perfect end of the bench player, a 13th man who can step in and play in the rotation in short steps when called upon, and will rarely make a coach regret giving him playing time. Hopefully he’s able to stick around the NBA for a while, and it would not be shocking at all for him to come back to LA sometime in the future.