The Summer Clippers lost again tonight, officially ending their pursuit of the 2022 Summer League Championship. The Denver Nuggets defeated them, 80-75, to improve to 2-1 and stay in contention as the Clippers fell to 1-2 on the week.

Clippers rookie Moussa Diabate didn’t play due to a minor ankle injury suffered last night against the Los Angeles Lakers, though the team left the door open for his potential return. The rest of the Clippers’ key players did suit up again with a normal minutes load on the second night of the back-to-back. With Diabate sidelined and no third center on the roster, the Clippers played small on the second unit behind Reggie Perry. Overall, it was a pretty rough and uneventful game, but let’s check in on some key names:

  • Jason Preston had probably his worst game of Summer League, as it felt like he had very little impact on the team’s offense as it sputtered severely at the hands of Brandon Boston and Jay Scrubb. In both other games, he had strong opening shifts as a floor general but faded into the background as the night went on. Tonight, it felt like he never even really established himself.
  • I wrote last night that Brandon Boston had an encouraging game despite struggling to finish around the rim because he handled the ball well and had good drives, just didn’t finish. I was less impressed tonight, as he struggled once again from the floor to finish with 8 points on 3-15 shooting. He needs to be stronger on the ball, but also probably develop that off-ball game offensively so that more of his shots don’t come out of isolation possessions. Like Preston, this was his worst performance yet.
  • Jay Scrubb “led” the way offensively with 18 points, but the outlook as an NBA player still isn’t good. Very little of what he does on the floor is translatable to the next level. Mostly, his game consists of out of control drives that lead to misses, turnovers, or free throws–and against NBA defenders who are less foul-prone, the last category is going to get cut out. A lot of his turnovers were ugly tonight, and his off-ball defense is exceptionally porous. It’s possible that he was still a net positive in this game, just because the offense was so anemic and he earned 9 free throws, but it felt like 20 possessions of Scrubb playing 1-on-5 was part of the reason why the team never established their team offense.
  • Xavier Moon continued to do Xavier Moon things, with 2 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in 16 minutes as the backup point guard. I don’t think we’re learning much new about him this week, but I think he’s had a positive impact on each game just from a poise/professionalism standpoint.
  • Reggie Perry got the start at center with Diabate out, and I was a little disappointed–he seemed to mostly be playing for himself instead of trusting that he could have a positive impact playing within the team concept. That’s one of the tricky aspsects of Summer League, as free agents like Perry are (rightfully) more concerned with showing scouts what they can do on an individual than trying to win the game in front of them. As a result, he only played 21:33 on a night where he easily could have cleared 30 minutes as the only big on the team, and Shaun Fein chose to go small to close the game. I’m indifferent to Perry at this point: I do think he’s a good two-way contract candidate next year, but I don’t think he fits the skillsets LAC needs at the end of their bench.
  • One guy who I am growing much more interested in from a Clipper perspective is Jarrell Brantley, who started at power forward tonight and also saw some time at center, finishing with 6 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. He was the best player on the floor for LA in this one and showed a much more developed feel for the game offensively than we’ve seen from him so far via a few really impressive passing reads. He’s undersized (but strong) for a PF, an older two-way candidate at 26, and has struggled with his three-point shot in the G-League and internationally… but from an intangible perspective, he seems to fit really well into the “connector” role that the Clippers like their 4s to play offensively while being an adept defender with good hands. I’m not locked in here due to the height/age/shooting concerns but he’s simply been good enough that I’d hope he has an opportunity to come to training camp (which he might decline if the outlook for winning a roster spot is bleak and he has money waiting on the table in Europe).
  • Cameron Reynolds gave the Clippers a nice and much-needed scoring punch off the bench with 11 points on 4-8 shooting, and could be another candidate if the Clippers are looking to fill a two-way spot with a forward. Despite being taller than Brantley, he has much more of a wing’s game to Brantley’s undersized PF skillset–and while he is definitely a better shooter, he’s actually even older at 27.
  • Justin Bean got his first real playing time on an Exhibit 10 deal, pressed into duty in Diabate’s absence, and while I can see all of the attributes that intrigued me about his game on the scouting report (good rebounder, smart cutter), I just don’t think he’s an NBA-level athlete. It’s a harsh verdict from 17 minutes of Summer League action but I’m aligned with the likely reality that he won’t last with the team until training camp. Elsewhere in Exhibit 10 land, Michael DeVoe got another turn as the backup shooting guard and, again, looked mostly lost, while Lucas Williamson picked up a DNP. My official prediction is that the Clippers cut all three after Summer League so they can bring other guys to camp.

The Summer Clippers will now take Thursday off before returning to action in their final preliminary game Friday afternoon at 2pm Pacific. That game, against the 2-1 Utah Jazz, will be on ESPN2 and played in the Thomas & Mack Center. Hopefully Moussa Diabate will return to the lineup, although if there is any doubt with his ankle it is best for the team to play it safe and hold him out. After Friday’s bout with the Jazz, they’ll play one last consolation game, either on Saturday or Sunday, to round out their 2022 Summer League campaign.

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Lucas Hann

Lucas Hann

Lucas has covered the Clippers since 2011, and has been credentialed by the team since 2014. He co-founded 213Hoops with Robert Flom in January 2020.  He is a graduate of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA and St. John's University in Queens, NY.  He earned his MA in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University.

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