The 2023 edition of the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League kicked off on Friday, but the Clippers and Jazz both have to wait until the nightcap of day 2 to get in on the action. After a couple of full days of anticipation, we’ll get to watch the Summer Clippers tip off against the Jazz at 7pm Pacific on ESPN2, or in the Thomas & Mack Center for basketball tourists in Las Vegas.
We’ll look for Jason Preston, Jordan Miller, Kobe Brown, and Moussa Diabate to take on leading roles for the Summer Clippers. Miller, Brown, and Diabate will all be on the Clippers next season, while Preston’s status is up in the air–his contract has a guarantee date after Summer League. Diabate and Preston, in their 2nd and 3rd Summer Leagues, should look more comfortable than in past iterations and be the leaders of this squad. The Clippers will also look to veteran Xavier Moon for a steady hand bringing the ball up, and try to get a look at Xavier Castaneda, an undrafted rookie guard that the team signed to an exhibit 10 deal (a training camp invitation with the team option to convert into a two-way contract).
Some other names that I’ll be keeping an eye on are Keaton Wallace (a tenured member of the Ontario Clippers who was briefly on a two-way deal last season), Matt Morgan (a finalist for the LNB MVP in France last year), Brodric Thomas (who has 44 NBA games under his belt for the Rockets, Cavs, and Celtics since going undrafted in 2020), and Bryson Williams (an undersized stretch 4/5 with Ontario Clippers experience shot 42% from three at Texas Tech in 2021-22 and in France last season). I’m interested to see who the 5th starter is alongside (presumably) Preston, Miller, Brown, and Diabate. Moon, who started next to Preston in the backcourt for Ontario last season, is a logical fit, but the Clippers seem to be prioritizing getting a look at several new established veterans from non-NBA leagues, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Morgan or Thomas get the nod.
Don’t be surprised if the Summer Jazz look like the much more coherent side in this contest. While the Summer Clippers are playing their first game together, the Jazz played three times earlier this week in Salt Lake City, going 1-2. Headlined by sophomore lottery pick Ochai Agbaji, who played real rotation minutes for the Jazz last season and is averaging 19 points and 9 rebounds so far this summer, the Jazz also feature rookie top-10 pick Taylor Hendricks, who hasn’t played yet with a hamstring strain. Other notable Jazz are beat up: 2019 Spurs first round pick Luka Samanic, who was briefly with the Jazz last season, left their last game with a knee injury; rookie 28th overall pick Brice Sensebaugh is day-to-day recovering from knee surgery, and returning two-way contract guard Johnny Juzang missed their last game. While all of their statuses for Saturday evening are unknown, we can expect Agbaji to be flanked by 16th overall pick Keyonte George, who has scored 16 points per game so far this summer.
213Hoops is an independently owned and operated L.A. Clippers blog by Clippers fans, for Clippers fans. If you enjoy our content, please consider subscribing to our Patreon. Subscriptions start at $1 a month and support from readers like you goes a long way towards helping us keep 213Hoops sustainable, growing, and thriving.