The Clippers beat the Kings 80-70 to grab their first win in the 2023 Las Vegas Summer League. As always in Summer League, results and game flow aren’t very important, so let’s just focus on the players.
After a solid but unspectacular Game 1, Preston reverted in Game 2, taking only four shots in 24 minutes and making just one. He dished five assists to two turnovers and grabbed a few boards, but the lack of aggression as a scorer and sheer inability to get by his man were really troubling to see for a guy in his 3rd Summer League. A bad outing for Preston, who really needs to step up his game if he wants to be in the NBA next year.
The duality of Moussa was on full display in this one. On one hand, he went 0-4 from the field and had four turnovers in 24 minutes, providing very little offensive utility (though he did go 5-6 from the line and had four assists) with some head-scratching mistakes. On the other hand, he had 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block, and his frenetic defense was key to the Clippers limiting the Kings to just 70 points on 37% shooting. His defense and rebounding have taken a step forward, but it’s hard to see him being in an NBA rotation with his offense this raw. Seems like he’s “one year away”.
Kobe was way more aggressive, and I though played better than his 12 points on 5-14 shooting showed. His actual shot has been off in Vegas, as he went 1-6 from three and 1-4 from the line, but I thought he showed some real burst and ballhandling capabilities in grabbing the ball and going to the rim. Even if he was blocked a couple times due to lack of explosiveness, the hndle and overall skill level for a guy his size is impressive. Defensively, he was a lot sharper in this one, even with his slow feet on the perimeter, and his 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block shows his activity level.
This was a quiet outing for Miller, who scored just 6 points on 3-8 shooting, though he did contribute 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal and block apiece in 26 minutes. His block was a thing of beauty in help defense rotation coverage, and his size and length should make him a versatile defender. The offense was less pretty – he’s still clearly adjusting to the greater size and athleticism in Summer League.
Moon had 18 points on 6-12 shooting, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals, and is very clearly too good for Summer League. Whether he’s good enough for the NBA, especially defensively, is another question, but there’s really not much more we can see from him here.
After a nice Game 1, Bryson Williams flashed a lot less in this one, as he was rejected several time around the rim due to his lack of strength and explosion. Brodric Thomas was pretty quiet again, as he had 5 points on 2-5 shooting, though one of those buckets was a beautiful and-one. Jordan Bowden, he other bench wing, was not quiet – his 18 points on 7-9 shooting and 4-6 from three were very loud in his 17 minutes. He didn’t do much else besides hit shots, but the shooting was impressive. I once again came away impressed with Matt Morgan, who had 10 points on 3-8 shooting and 2-6 from three with a couple rebounds and assists. I thought he flashed some nice passes in this one, and his ability to launch threes is obvious.
It is interesting that once again the same nine players were utilized in this one. Maybe that’s who the Clippers are rolling with in this SL, or maybe a couple other guys get the call as the week goes along.