Our exit interview series at 213 Hoops continues with a look at the 2022 season of injured Clippers rookie point guard Jason Preston.
Weight: 181 pounds
Position: Point Guard
Age: 22 (turns 23 in August)
Years in the NBA: 0 (Rookie)
Key Stats: Did not appear in a regular season NBA game due to a foot injury
Lucas mentioned in Jason’s season preview that expectations for him and Brandon Boston Jr. were about zero. Which I agree with, as second-round rookies on theoretical championship-contending teams don’t usually play much, and when they do it’s rarely meaningful minutes. The hope for Preston is that he’d play in Agua Caliente, get some extended garbage time run in the NBA, and maybe even scratch a handful of rotation games due to injury. In terms of what Preston would provide, the ideal version of him is a traditional NBA point guard who can run an offense smoothly, create open shots for others, and score as needed.
Jason Preston did not play a minute for the LA Clippers in the 2022 season – or even for the Agua Caliente Clippers. He hurt his foot just a few days before training camp, had surgery in early October, and was out for the rest of the year. It’s not quite a lost season, as Preston got to be around the team, absorb advice from coaches and players, work on his shot, and get NBA-level strength and nutrition, which his huge for a guy as slender as he is. Jason hopefully took quite a lot from the season, and will be that much more ready for the next year.
Still, it’s never great to miss an entire season, and it’s even worse as a rookie, when every year of development time is precious. Not being able to truly play high-level basketball for a season can therefore be quite damaging, and Preston certainly might look a bit rusty when he returns next season. As long as the foot injury is not a harbinger of troubles to come, hopefully this year will be shoved to the back burner when Preston actually takes the court.
Future with Clippers
Jason Preston is signed for two more years, though the 2023-2024 season is non-guaranteed. Considering how many coaches were working with Preston throughout the season, his development appears to be a priority – and that’s been corroborated by reporting from local and national media. As big a name as ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on a podcast (I can’t possibly remember which) that the Clippers really like Preston, and that’s a sentiment that’s been floated elsewhere. Now, they’re not going say they don’t like a recent pick, but still, the level of interest seems to be higher than for guys like Daniel Oturu or Mfiondu Kabengele. Preston’s value is low, so he doesn’t provide much in a trade, and therefore it stands to reason he will probably be a Clipper for at least this upcoming season while the Clips see what they have. Then again, 2021 1st round rookie Keon Johnson was traded halfway through his first season, so who knows.