The Clippers finally announced their 2021 Summer League roster, which means the annual breakdown of the squad and what to look forward to. This year, there will be less emphasis than usual on the “other guys” on the roster. The Clippers’ regular roster is just about full to the brim already, and while there could be a trade to create roster spots, it’s highly unlikely one of the Summer League only guys gets added to the regular roster in fall. A final note is that BJ Boston, the Clippers’ selection with the 51st pick in the 2021 draft, is not officially on the Summer League roster, as the trade to acquire him can’t be processed until August 6. When that happens, however, Boston should join the team in Vegas. Without further ado, let’s break down the Clippers’ 2021 Summer League roster!
Amir Coffey – The vet on the team, Coffey’s journey to a regular Clipper started in summer league two years ago. As someone who has played competent minutes in meaningful NBA games, Coffey should look too good for this level of competition. In terms of what to watch for, I’d focus mostly on his three-point shot and handle. If he can nail those threes, he’s going to have an NBA career. Even if he doesn’t he might still stick around, but a solid three-ball would really make him a rotation-level player. Hopefully he is able to stick some jumpers in Summer League and then head to the sidelines early with the other “too good for this” guys.
Keon Johnson – The guy who Clippers’ fans will be watching most closely is undoubtedly Keon Johnson. Taken with the 21st pick in the 2021 draft, he’s the highest Clippers’ draft selection since 2018. Johnson is an insanely athletic wing who should have some monstrous highlights in the up-and-down, more free-flowing style of play that usually happens in Summer League. For Keon, the biggest things to examine will be his entire offensive game. He is very raw in most facets on that end, and any sign of positive play regarding jumpshot, passing, dribbling, and decision-making will be a welcome one.
Jason Preston – Preston, the Clippers’ 33rd pick in the 2021 draft, will presumably be the starting point guard for the group. An excellent playmaker and passer, Preston’s weaknesses are shot creation off the dribble and athleticism (the two go hand in hand). He wasn’t consistent at breaking down defenders in a mediocre college conference off the bounce, so seeing how he fares against a much higher level of competition and athleticism will be intriguing. Preston should be a ton of fun to watch in Summer League due to his passing, and hopefully he surprises with his ability to get into the paint in the halfcourt.
Daniel Oturu – Daniel Oturu had a terrible close to his rookie season, as he was deployed by the Clippers as a superpowered tanking weapon to lose the last game of the year. His inability to finish around the rim and create easy shots for himself was on full display. For Oturu to stick in the NBA, he needs to do one (or both) of two things – shoot threes and become a stretch big man, or gain flexibility as a defender. He’s too undersized to be a true rim protector and doesn’t have the athleticism to be a dominant finisher like Montrezl Harrell. Therefore, he needs to show value in other ways.
Jay Scrubb – Scrubb, like Oturu, didn’t get a rookie summer league, and Clippers’ fans barely saw him all year as he recovered from a broken foot. Between what we did see in garbage time and from his college stats, it’s clear to tell that Scrubb can put the ball in the hoop. The question is whether he can do anything else at the NBA level. That’s why I’d love to see some playmaking and passing from Scrubb in Summer League – the Clippers will need him to create shots for others.
BJ Boston – Assuming Boston does play in Summer League, it would be nice to see him make shots at an efficient clip. He was a horrendously inefficient offensive player in college, shooting well below-average percentages from every spot on the court. As a former top-ranked five star recruit in high school, Boston absolutely has skills. Whether he can translate those skills to effective scoring at the highest levels of basketball is a different question, and Summer League is a good place to start.
Jordan Ford – Ford is a small point guard who played for the Clippers in training camp before the 2021 season, and then spent his year in Agua Caliente for the Clippers’ minor league affiliate. Ford had fairly strong stats in the G-League, especially his nearly 4:1 assist to turnover ratio and 43.9% from three on 4.4 attempts per game. His bugaboos are defense and getting to the line, so let’s see how he fares in both those categories.
Isaiah Hicks – Hicks actually played for the Summer League Clippers four years ago, back when he was an undrafted rookie out of North Carolina. Since then he’s played in the G-League, Russia, and South Korea. The Clippers clearly like him, but aged 27, his time to make an impression on NBA teams is running out. Hopefully he shows out enough to get a training camp deal from someone.
Lydell Elmore – I have never heard of Elmore before. He went to Livingstone College, a Historically Black College (HBCU) that plays Division II. Lydell transferred to High Point for his senior season, a non-Power Five school in the Big South Conference. He was the second-leading scorer for the team at 11 points per game, and also led the team in rebounding with 6.2. Lydell appears to be a bit of a tweener, without the offensive skills of a modern wing but not the size of a big man.
Kerwin Roach – Roach is actually a player who I liked quite a bit coming out of Texas. Since going undrafted in 2019 he played in the G-League and in the New Zealand (NBL), one of the better domestic leagues outside the US. Roach can play defense, but he’s a limited scorer and shooter.
Kaleb Wesson – Wesson is a big man who spent last year in the G-League after going undrafted out of Ohio State (boooo!). Despite his legit size (6’11, 250), he has some outside shooting abilities (31.8% from three on 4.0 attempts in the G-League last year), but struggles defending out on the perimeter in space.
That’s about it for the Clippers 2021 Summer League roster. Post in the comments below on who you’re most interested to see!