After securing their first win of the NBA Las Vegas Summer League on Monday night, the Clippers are back in action against the Memphis Grizzlies. Folks who aren’t bound to the 9-5 will get to watch the two 1-1 teams face off at 12:30pm Pacific on NBATV, or in the Cox Pavilion for basketball tourists in Las Vegas. This Summer Grizzlies group also has a little more experience together by virtue of going 2-1 in the Salt Lake City Summer League lead-up event, with their only loss coming in the finale where their big-name players were rested.

The Clippers have started third-year point guard Jason Preston, veteran fringe guard Xavier Moon, rookie wing Jordan Miller, rookie forward Kobe Brown, and sophomore big man Moussa Diabate in each of their first two games. French MVP finalist guard Matt Morgan, Long Island Nets star wing Jordan Bowden, former NBA wing Brodric Thomas, and former Ontario Clippers big Bryson Williams have rounded out the 9-man rotation off the bench. So far, each of the Clippers’ prospects (Preston, Miller, Brown, and Diabate) have shown flashes but failed to truly break out and demonstrate superior, NBA-caliber talent. Preston in particular is in a perilous position, as his contract for next season is not guaranteed and he could be released after Summer League if he doesn’t impress. 28-year-old Xavier Moon has undoubtedly been the best player on this roster, taking over offensively late in games to average 16 (!!) fourth quarter points. No other Clipper is averaging 16 points per game. Morgan has shown his speed and shooting off the bench and is second on the team in scoring with 12 points per game, but has yet to truly break out despite closing Monday’s win ahead of the struggling Preston. Bowden was quiet on Saturday but got hot from deep to finish with 18 points on Monday; Thomas has just 5 points on 2-9 shooting total so far. Williams has been a mixed bag but has been active and had good moments; he was with the Clippers in training camp last season and could be considered a candidate for a two-way contract. We have yet to see several depth players on this team; it’s customary for everyone who is brought to Summer League to get some type of shot, so we’ll see if and when the Clippers incorporate undrafted rookie guard Xavier Castaneda, international pro guard Fred Sims Jr., Ontario Clipper guard/wing Keaton Wallace, or international forward/big Nate Renfro.

On the other side of this match-up, the Grizzlies have an assortment of relevant NBA talent. Kenneth Lofton Jr performed well enough in 24 appearances last season as an undrafted rookie on a two-way deal to earn a real contract with the team going forward. Sophomore 19th overall pick Jake LaRavia got his feet wet in the NBA last year with 35 games played. Sophomore 23rd overall pick David Roddy earned a regular rotation spot, averaging 18 minutes per game in 70 appearances. Sophomore undrafted guard Jacob Gilyard made one appearance last season on a two-way contract signed after Lofton was promoted to the main roster. 48th overall pick rookie G.G. Jackson, 47th overall pick sophomore Vincent Williams Jr, and 56th overall pick rookie Tarik Biberovic will also likely get their opportunities. This will be a good test for the Summer Clippers as they go up against an opponent with more headlining proven NBA talent than they possess–an opportunity for them to prove they belong in the league next season.

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Lucas Hann

Lucas Hann

Lucas has covered the Clippers since 2011, and has been credentialed by the team since 2014. He co-founded 213Hoops with Robert Flom in January 2020.  He is a graduate of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA and St. John's University in Queens, NY.  He earned his MA in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University.

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