Our exit interview series at 213 Hoops continues with a look at the 2022 season of Xavier Moon, who was signed as an injury replacement player before inking a two-way deal late in the year.
Years in the NBA: 1
Key Stats: 5.8 points, 1.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists in 13.7 minutes per game with shooting splits of 49.0/35.7/60.0
There weren’t any expectations at all for Xavier Moon at the start of the 2021-22 season, as he wasn’t even on the Clippers roster. He was a late addition to the Agua Caliente Clippers in the G League after fleshing out a solid career in the CEBL in Canada.
When the league got hit with a COVID wave in late winter, Moon was one of the players called up to a hardship contract. Even then, not much was expected of him. He was simply around to give some spot minutes amid the Clippers’ revolving roster. He did show some flashes during his initial go-round with the team, though. In one of the last games he played on his hardship deal against the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 13, he had one his best games as a Clipper with 10 points and four assists.
It was his play in the G League after his hardship contract expired that perhaps gave fans more of a look into how he could possibly fit on the roster.
From January until March when the Clippers brought Moon back, this time on a two-way contract, he established himself as one of the best point guards in the G League. He was able to find a perfect balance between scoring and playmaking.
When Eric Bledsoe was traded and with Jason Preston out all season with an injury, the Clippers had no real point guard behind Reggie Jackson. Amir Coffey’s brilliant play put him in line to have his two-way contract converted to a standard deal, and Moon seemed an obvious candidate for the team’s suddenly vacant two-way spot.
For the remainder of the season, Moon did exactly what was asked of him. He provided spot minutes when necessary while learning the ins and outs of the NBA game. On the final night of the regular season against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Moon had his best game as a Clipper with 17 points on 8-11 shooting, seven assists and three rebounds.
Future with Clippers
Moon isn’t under contract with the Clippers for next season. It’s a safe bet that he probably will be on their summer league roster looking to earn another two-way deal. As decent of a player as Moon is, there doesn’t appear to be much room in the rotation for him. Preston should be healthy and ready to earn some minutes with players such as Coffey and Mann providing backup point guard minutes.
He’s not a bad player though to have around on a two-way deal. He’s already familiar with the team and he’s old enough to where he doesn’t have to be babysat and developed. He’s shown he can contribute if necessary. If he’s okay with accepting that role again then by all means the Clippers should bring him back. But if another team is willing to give him more of an opportunity, it would certainly be in his best interest to take it.