The Clippers’ third 2023 Summer League game comes against their sort-of-rival Denver Nuggets at 7:00 PM PT on NBA TV. The Clippers are 1-1 in Summer League after their disappointing loss to the Lakers last night, where they surrendered a double-digit lead and shot just 31% from the field across the last three quarters. That loss puts them in the middle of the pack for the Summer League standings, so they’ll need to win the rest of their games to have a shot at the championship.
Considering this is the second night of a back-to-back, it seems probable the Clippers will rest some of their players to mitigate risk of injury. This could include not just Moussa Diabate, Jason Preston, and Brandon Boston, but other guys who have played heavier minutes like Jay Scrubb and Xavier Moon (though probably not both Preston and Moon, since that would leave the Clippers very thin at point guard). This would also give the Clippers a chance to see some of their lesser-used players in action, including their Exhibit 10 players Michael Devoe (played 10 minutes in Game 1), Lucas Williamson (garbage time in Game 1, four minutes in Game 2), and Justin Bean (garbage time in Game 1). This could also give a chance for a couple of the Clippers’ “other guys” who have played well so far to shine, like Jarrell Brantley, Reggie Perry, and Cam Reynolds.
The Nuggets have no players from their 2022 regular season team on their Summer League squad, unlike the Clippers, so it’s highlighted by their three picks from the 2022 NBA Draft – Christian Braun (21), Peyton Watson (30), and Ismael Kamagate (46). Braun has mostly not been great, while Watson had a horrific Game 1 and a great Game 2. Kamagate, who was originally pegged to return to France for a “stash” year has been excellent by all accounts, and if he continues to play this well, might force his way onto the 15 man Nuggets roster. Other players of note are Collin Gillespie (signed to one of the Nuggets’ two-way deals) and Jontay Porter, the younger brother of Michael Porter Jr. who played 11 games for the Grizzlies in the 2022 season. It will be fun to see Diabate (if he plays) up against Kamagate, especially as they worked out/played against each other several times in the pre-Draft process.
If the Clippers’ main guys do play, we would be looking for similar things as in prior games. For Boston and Scrubb, can they score efficiently and get others involved. For Moussa, can he translate his energy on the offensive glass and defense throughout an entire game. For Preston, can he consistently run a smooth offense while creating shots for himself as well. So far, the answers have been mixed. If they don’t play, hopefully we get to see more of what the rest of the roster can do, and get some surprises (in a positive way) from guys like Devoe and Williamson.