Our 2022-2023 player season preview series continues with Amir Coffey, who took a huge leap last year and was, at times, the Clippers’ best player during an injury-riddled season.
Weight: 210 pounds
Position: Shooting Guard/ Small Forward
Years in NBA: 3
2021-2022 Key Stats: 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 0.2 blocks in 22.7 minutes per game across 69 games (30 starts) on 45.3% shooting from the field and 37.8% from behind the arc.
Contract Status: $3.5M guaranteed for 2022-2023 and $7.6M total over the following two seasons.
Amir Coffey is yet another player who will see a drop off in playing time this season. He will be solidly behind: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Norman Powell, and Marcus Morris; will likely be behind: Nicolas Batum and Terance Mann; and, competing with: Luke Kennard and Brandon Boston, Jr.
Last year, as noted above, Amir averaged almost 23 minutes per game; in 2020, he averaged just nine. The question for Amir, then, becomes how much his improvement as a player can out pace the talent that is returning to the lineup. On one hand, Amir is a well-rounded player who can fill several different gaps for the Clippers on any given night, from energy and defense to shooting and ball handling. On the other hand, his lack of excellence at any one skill means that there is no pressing reason to play him over the players listed above.
But one thing will definitely be different, in a positive way, this year for Amir: He won’t have make the drive to Ontario this year because he signed his first full-time, main roster contract this summer (three years, 11M). Moreover, the fact that the Clippers have committed to Amir for the next three years may incentivize them to continue developing him through on court experience.
Amir Coffey can do just about everything on the basketball court to some extent: Last year, he shot a respectable 45% from the field last year, an impressive 37.8% from three (on 3.7 attempts per game), and 86% from the free throw line. What’s more, he’s starting to show signs of potential as a three level scorer. Along with his catch-and-shot ability, he is able to finish at the rim with his length and strength.
The most surprising part of Amir’s development during last season was his capacity to be the team’s best player on a given night. Although he only averaged nine points per game, he had two 30 point games, five 20 pointers, and was over 10 points twenty-three times total. Before last season, Amir’s career night was 21 points, which came during an overtime game in the bubble in which Amir played 49 minutes. His second highest performance previously was 15 points in a game for which Kawhi and Paul George did not play – last season was a big step up in responsibility and output.
Amir is not special on defense, but he is mostly fine, from what I can tell. A glaring issue, however, is his rebounding: He only averaged three rebounds in almost 23 minutes per game last year. Before that, he averaged about 1 per game over nine minutes during his first two seasons. Rebounding in general was a huge problem for the Clippers last year, and Amir was not a big help.
Other than rebounding, Amir should continue developing his ability to take guys off the dribble. Looking through Amir’s tape from last year, it’s obvious that most of his scoring comes from the “system.” He’s either coming off of a screen or catching-and-shooting after he’s been left alone by a defender. Adding isolation skills—perhaps even a post up game—to his game will increase his value (although it’s not something the Clippers need in the short term).
By the end of the season, Amir might prove to be the best 12th-man in the league. He can do a little bit of everything, is always ready to contribute, and has experience adapting to a wide variety of circumstances. Hopefully, Amir will get the opprotunity to play on a nightly basis, but even that would be too much to ask for. Regardless, though, he has done everything the Clippers’ have asked him to do and will be part of their long-term future, so Clippers Nation should get used to him.