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Las Vegas Los Angeles Clippers Summer League roster preview

Los Angeles Clippers Summer League Roster

Players Under Contract

This is the point where I would normally write about rookie first-round pick C.J. Wilcox and second-year wing Reggie Bullock, but neither one is participating in summer league this year. Wilcox will be recovering from a right shoulder injury. Bullock will sit with right quad soreness. With those two guys failing to play in Vegas, that leaves the Clippers without any guaranteed contracts on their roster.

Former NBA Players

Delonte West, PG/SG: Bet you haven’t heard this name in a while. West hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2011-12 season, when he averaged 9.6 points and 3.2 assists a night on 46-36-88 shooting for the Dallas Mavericks. He found himself somewhat inexplicably out of the NBA for the next two years. Some of that may have had to do with behavioral reasons. The rest may be best explained with this tremendous feature from Slate.com’s David Haglund. Either way, multiple years playing under Doc Rivers and the need for a third point guard gives West a legitimate chance to make the Clippers roster.

Lorenzo Brown, PG: Brown got a cup of coffee last season with the Philadelphia 76ers after the Minnesota Timberwolves cut him from their roster in training camp. However, he struggled in Philly, shooting just 30 percent from the field in limited playing time during his 26 games as a 76er. Brown’s biggest weakness has always been range on his shot. If the 23-year-old can add some accuracy to his jumper, he stands a much better chance to make an NBA roster, especially as a 6-foot-5 point guard.

Keith Benson, PF: Referring to Benson as an NBA player is more technical than anything else, considering he’s still in search for his first NBA points after playing a total of nine minutes for the Golden State Warriors in 2011-12. Benson seems to be stuck in Oakland. He got his only NBA action there and played his college ball at Oakland University, that one, of course, located in Rochester, MI. At 6-foot-11, 230 pounds, he has legitimate size for an NBA power forward, and his offensive game is more refined than you might expect. Look at him as a sleeper on this roster, even at 25 years old.

Armon Johnson, PG: Johnson, who was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers, actually got a couple of seasons of NBA action with Portland. However, he hasn’t seen time in the NBA since 2011-12, playing in Spain, Kazakhstan and in the D-League over that time period. There’s a theme on this roster: lots of big point guards, and standing at 6-foot-3, Johnson is one of them.

DeAndre Liggins, SG: Liggins is an athlete. The ultimate athlete. That’s why you see so many teams giving him a shot. After Orlando drafted him in the second round of the 2011 draft, Liggins has seen time with the Thunder and Heat, but has never really caught on anywhere. It was the same story in his three years at Kentucky, where Liggins never averaged more than 8.6 points per game. Still, at summer league, athleticism tends to rule overall, and that gives Liggins a chance to show off his best asset.

Jon Brockman, PF: Brockman is a beast, a bully, the type of guy who you hate playing against in pick-up because he has that “old-man strength.” He was a real player for the Kings and the Bucks from 2009 to 2012, but hasn’t been in the league since. Now, the 27-year-old is trying to make his way back as an aggressive rebounder and body in the post.

Rookie Free Agents

Will Clyburn, SF: Clyburn has had an odd career trajectory. He should be able to shoot. He just doesn’t anymore. After hitting 40 percent of his threes as a freshman for Utah in 2010-11, it all fell off. Clyburn transferred to Iowa State, redshirted his academic sophomore season and came back an effective, but slightly different player, sinking only 31 percent of his threes. In Germany this past season, it was the same story, as he made only 10 of 42 attempts from long range. Clyburn is a defender and rebounder and can help on that front, but if he wants to make it into the league, correcting his shot to what it was in his freshman days at Utah is probably most important.

Shawn Jones, PF: It seems like the Clippers have a couple themes on the roster aside from big point guards. One of them is bigs who can rebound. Brockman is a monster body down low and so is Jones, who pulled down almost 18 percent of available rebounds this past season at Middle Tennessee. He never really saw much playing time until his senior season, but capitalized as well as he possibly could, averaging 20.1 points and 12 rebounds per 40 minutes in his last collegiate year. Now, he tries to make it in the pros similarly to Brockman as a big body down low.

Aziz N’Diaye, C: You want a big boy? That’s N’Diaye. We’re talking about a legitimate 7-footer with a wingspan that stretches out to just under 7-foot-7. N’Diaye may not have much of an offensive game, but he has massive rim-protection potential and averaged 12.5 rebounds per 40 minutes collegiately at Washington. Meanwhile, he just led the German league in rebounding rate this past season. He’s a project, but maybe he’s a desirable one.

Amath M’Baye, SF: M’Baye was supposed to be on the Clippers summer league team last year, but didn’t end up playing. This year, he’s expected to make it out to Vegas. He’s not a major scorer, but can finish around the rim strong and at 6-foot-8, possesses legitimate size for a small forward. He’s a decent athlete, who gets out in transition well, but like most guys at summer league, the former University of Oklahoma and University of Wyoming forward has one trait that plagues him: shooting.

Kyle Kuric, SG: You might remember Kuric as Rick Pitino’s go-to spot-up shooter for a few years at Louisville. Syracuse fans will remember him for his 22 second-half points to defeat the at-the-time-No. 1-ranked Orange in the last game ever at Freedom Hall (he had zero points in the first half of that game, by the by). Kuric is exactly what you’d expect: a spot-up, three-point specialist who can knock it in from anywhere on the court. However, he’s got flaws in most other aspects of the game. Either way, Kuric will probably end up being the best shooter on this team.

Cameron Clark, SF: Clark will have to learn how to play effectively on the wings in order to make it in the pros. After getting tons of burn as a freshman at Oklahoma, he quickly started to lose playing time as his career progressed. Heading into his senior season, he was off the map. But OU used him as a stretch 4, his three-point shooting went up to 44 percent on a legitimate 2.6 attempts per game, and his production skyrocketed with it. At just 6-foot-6, Clark won’t be able to play power forward in the NBA, even as a part of small-ball lineups. He’ll need to learn how to man the perimeter.

Fred Katz