After our first real full month of action, it’s time for the Clippers to get handed their January progress reports. I’ve been grading every Clipper after every game, so let’s take a look at their averages for the month to see how everyone’s been doing.
Clippers January Progress Reports
Patrick Beverley: B+
After not being great in the Clippers’ first few games with foul trouble, Bev really stepped it up in January and churned out quality performance after quality performance before going down with injury. We’re back to having full confidence in Pat’s abilities–just not his availability.
Paul George: A-
PG has actually slowed down a little bit as the season has worn on, but in a way that was inevitable, and he’s stayed really, really good and consistent. Mostly the reason why his January GPA is higher than his full season is that his F vs the Mavericks in December is still pulling him way down.
While his grade comes out to a B+ because of a bad game here and there, he gets the bump to A- because the Clippers won 10 of their last 11 games to close the month–and he missed the sole loss.
Kawhi Leonard: A-
A picture of consistency, it’s fitting that Kawhi has virtually the same exact GPA this month as last. Like with George, Leonard gets a bump here because of team success with him in the lineup in recent weeks.
Nicolas Batum: A-
Batum really grades out on a B+ here, and after some of the shock factor of his initial play exceeding reasonable expectations, we’ve settled into a more standard expectation for him on a nightly basis. Consider the B+ to A- bump the result of extra credit–not only did he get an A for leading the Clippers in scoring against the Heat, but getting the game ball in a win without George and Leonard deserves a bit of an extra bump.
Serge Ibaka: B-
I think a B- is about right for Serge, who often has good nights scoring the basketball but just as often doesn’t, and has been lackluster defensively most games.
Lou Williams: C
Lou doesn’t quite earn the C+ from me, despite his GPA technically warranting it. He’s really struggled for most of the season so far, and even as his playmaking has started to come around in recent games it feels like he still hasn’t fully settled in to making a consistent, positive impact on games.
Luke Kennard: C+.
Luke got a C+ in December, and C+ feels about right here too. There were moments this month, real flashes, where it seemed like Luke was breaking through, but he just hasn’t been consistent enough in his aggression and confidence to warrant better grades or more trust from the coaching staff.
Marcus Morris: B
Marcus has probably been the most typical expectations guy for the Clippers so far this season, shooting the ball well off the bench but sometimes having questionable shot selection and limited contributions outside of his scoring.
Ivica Zubac: B+
Zu’s GPA is B- material, not B+. But after some real struggles acclimating to his bench role earlier in the season, he has really been the same old great Zu on both ends of the floor recently–including a spell of five straight As this month.
Reggie Jackson: A-
The GPA weights every game equally, so Reggie’s 3-minute F in the first game of the month counts equal to his high grades as an injury replacement starter. That doesn’t seem right. An A- acknowledges that Reggie has been imperfect this month, while giving him credit for just how great he’s been when asked to step into a bigger role just shortly after being demoted from the rotation altogether.
Terance Mann: B+
Much like with Reggie, I care far more about Terance playing well in the games where the Clippers have needed him most than I do about him being average (or worse) in low minutes on other nights, so despite his average grade being a B- he’s walking home with a B+.
Patrick Patterson: B-
I’m sort of torn with PatPat, who definitely deserves credit for having his best game of the season yesterday against the Knicks when he was pressed into duty as a starter for the first time. But I think he also deserves quite a bit of flak for the low number of games he played–just 4 grades earned in the 16-game month for a guy making more than the league minimum. It’s pretty telling that he can’t get on the floor more. I’ll stick with the GPA on this one.
Mfiondu Kabengele: B
Fi probably doesn’t deserve a B, since he’s a first round pick on his way out the door in the middle of his sophomore season and his grades have mostly been based on maintaining leads in a few shifts of garbage-time minutes. But honestly, at this point it just feels mean-spirited to knock him below his GPA.
Daniel Oturu: A-
Yeah, ok, fine. Daniel only played enough to get a grade twice this month, and he’s likely not going to be with the team in February as he spends the month in Orlando with the Agua Caliente Clippers. But if I felt like he deserved an A- at the time after both games, then he can have his A- for the month.
Amir Coffey: A-
An A- for Amir is a bit of a stretch, both by the GPA and my overall gut feeling for the month, but I’m okay with it. He not only did his job in garbage time, but he even played at an acceptable level when pressed into rotation minutes last week due to the Clippers being down 3 starters.
Jay Scrubb: INJ
Scrubb didn’t play in December and we won’t see him in January or February either. Maybe late March? Either way, I hope he’s learning a lot as an observer during this injury redshirt year.
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