Terry Maston SF/PF – 6’8, 225lbs – Born 4th September 1995 Agua Caliente Clippers Picked up for a month after being waived by the team that drafted him, the Stockton Kings, Maston played only 3 minutes in 3 games before being waived. He latterly joined the Saint John Riptide in the NBL Canada, averaging 19.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 blocks and 2.7 turnovers in 31.5 minutes of 27 games to close out the season. With long arms, smooth athleticism, a mid-range jump shot, a good free throw stroke and a decent rebounding rate, Maston rolls, pops, and posts to a turnaround jumper with an old man game, occasionally driving to the rim with a couple of dribbles but usually rolling without the ball. However, with only one made three-pointer on the season, no left hand, bad perimeter defensive reads and poor defensive effort overall, Maston has big gaps in his game. – 20th June, 2019 This above is extracted from the following page in the The Basketball Manifesto, an entirely free 3,775 page, 1.2 million word-ish basketball reference book which contains reviews, strategies, ideas, opinions, and a whole lot of scouting on men’s world basketball. – View tons more player profiles like this from the Manifesto here.
Ryan Boatright PG – 5’11, 170lbs – Born 27th December 1992 Agua Caliente Clippers Boatright started the season with Agua Caliente through a local tryout spot, was traded to the Texas Legends in December for J.J. Avila, then left in January to finish the season with Unicaja Malaga in Spain. He played well for Malaga, averaging 7.3 points, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steals in only 14 minutes per game in 8 ACB contests to close out the season, yet a poor season last for Besiktas and a disjointed one in 2018-19 has seen him lose some momentum in his career. To go from NBA contracts to local tryouts in only three seasons is quite the backwards step. Nevertheless, Besiktas should take some responsibility for not understanding what kind of player they signed – Boatright is a change-of-pace speedster, shooter and dynamic force rather than a full-time floor general. And while it would be for the best if he was successfully expanding beyond that role, he is at least playing well within it. – 20th June, 2019 This above is extracted from the following page in the The Basketball Manifesto, an entirely free 3,775 page, 1.2 million word-ish basketball reference book which contains reviews, strategies, ideas, opinions, and a whole lot of scouting on men’s world basketball. – View tons more player profiles like this from the Manifesto here.
Evan Taylor SG – 6’5, 204lbs – Born 11th April 1996 Agua Caliente Clippers There is always plenty of room in the college game for the defensive specialist who rarely scores. Be it at point guard, on the wing or in the frontcourt, it is a fairly normal sight; after all, the talent thins out considerably after the top few teams, even in the lower ends of the power conferences. Such players are genuinely helpful, but their professional prognosis is limited; after all, pro teams can be pickier. In his first pro season out of Nebraska, Taylor tried to defy the trend. And he certainly brought his trademark defensive energy to the Clippers. As a senior, Taylor posted only 6.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals per game, on a .532% true shooting percentage. Not numbers we would normally go for. Nevertheless, in a good frame for the wing, Taylor is fully committed to defence. He is pesky, he is savvy, and while it may not be the most readily reflected thing in the statistics, Taylor is an important part of the glue of any defensive unit. Flexible, versatile, intense and malleable. He gets after it. It would be good if he could add some offence to go with that. Taylor has over time improved his catch-and-shoot ability, and while his three-point volume is always low, his efficiency seems to be consistently there now. That said, Taylor creates nothing, wishes not to handle the ball inside the arc at all, does not much wish to handle it outside of it either, and is purely an opportunity scorer. He has to be very open to shoot, and the lane has to be very open for him to drive it. Is this going to be enough to make […]
Desi Rodriguez SF/PF – 6’6, 240lbs – Born 23rd March 1996 Agua Caliente Clippers 6’6 and 240lbs are not the usual sort of measurements you will see at this level. But then, Desi Rodriguez is not the usual sort of player. A favourable interpretation of his skill set would highlight his versatility. Rodriguez can both face up and back down; while never the best spot-up jump shooter, and even less of one off the dribble, Rodriguez is nevertheless best when facing the basket, driving to the cup and finishing with bankers, runners and the like. He has been adapting to play the perimeter more and more in recent years, and while he does not have a tight handle with which to create space, or use his right hand much at all, Rodriguez takes bumps, works the angles, throws in spin moves and exploits the mid-range areas. Driving curls, shooting on the move and posting to a turnaround jump shot, he finds looks without having blazing straight-line speed, the ability to jump over defenders, or the craft in his handle to shake them. The less favourable interpretation would be to say that Rodriguez has no calling card at this level. He is not a shooter, nor a handler, nor a transition player, nor a post player, nor an athlete. He is all of these things, a bit, yet when compared to his peers in each role, Rodriguez is none of them enough. In almost always driving left, Rodriguez somewhat negates the variety of the rest of his attack, and while he hits quite a few tough shots, this is also because he takes them. That same lack of foot speed has always hindered Rodriguez defensively, the end of the floor on which he has never shone. Rodriguez has improved, […]
Tyler Roberson PF – 6’9, 227lbs – Born 27th November 1994 Agua Caliente Clippers Roberson rejoined the Clippers in January after having initially moved to Greece to begin the season, catching on with defending Basketball Champions League champions AEK Athens. If you or your loved ones fancy reading more about AEK Athens’ title defence and the compelling protagonists within it, then why not all gather around the fireside and read this scintillating piece of online content from a tremendous author who has yet to master the art of self-editing. The Clippers knew what they would be getting when Roberson returned, because at this point, the Tyler Roberson package is well established. It is an effective one, too. Roberson is a little-things player, a glass-crasher, a hustling and athletic big who rarely touches the ball, an energetic defensive player who causes a scene through effort rather than skill. Roberson is springy, prepared to bump, prepared to grind, prepared to stay out of the way offensively save for cuts, rolls, put-backs and transition, and if he commits a high volume of fouls in the process of being this active, so be it. Of course, long is the list of things that Roberson does not do. There is no handle. There is no jump shot. There is little in the way of post touch, nor much consistent non-dunk finishing; a short righty hook and a very rare turnaround jump shot exist, yet Roberson has to be set up first and is much more effective when catching on the move so as to not even have to take one dribble. Roberson struggles to defend the perimeter, does not have the core strength a post defender would ideally have, and nor is he as much of a shot-blocker as you would hope for […]
Ray McCallum PG – 6’3, 190lbs – Born 12th June1991 Agua Caliente Clippers McCallum joined the Clippers in February after beginning the season with Turkish team Darussafaka, with whom he had averaged 9.4 points and 4.1 assists per game in EuroLeague play, his second consecutive season in the world’s second-best league. Of course, his –24 net rating in EuroLeague play speaks to how well both his and Darussafaka’s season went up there; back in the EuroLeague after a year away, Darussafaka went a measly 5-25 in the regular season and finished stone cold last. Nevertheless, rare is the occasion that an EL player comes directly to the G-League. By the time McCallum joined them, the Clippers already had a good backcourt going, so it was his job to fit in around them. This arguably could work better for McCallum, who, despite his pedigree and NBA experience, I would argue is better as a role playing guard than as a lead creator. As things stand, McCallum mostly works on the ball, yet creating with the ball in his hands has never been his most efficient route, considering his limited athleticism and thus ability to create space. Instead, McCallum should work best as a savvy role player. He plays with energy on defence, and although he never takes all that many of them, he has become an excellent catch-and-shoot three-point shooter over the years. He should take more of them, frankly, yet McCallum’s core instinct is to get in the paint, work the mid-range game, push the ball and make things happen. Those are all fine, and as a heady high-IQ player, he does them well enough. I really feel as though McCallum works best on the move, though. So find someone to pair him with who can be the […]
Marc Loving SF/PF – 6’8, 220lbs – Born 16th September 1994 Agua Caliente Clippers Loving has an enviable physical profile. Standing 6’8 with very long arms, he has a long languid stride, leaping ability and some straight-line speed, looking every inch the prototype NBA forward when measured solely athletically. It is therefore a shame that he has yet to discover quite what to do with it. Loving’s game unfortunately is not so much categorised by that athleticism as it is his dispassionate style. There is a particular lack of hustle on the defensive end. Those long arms should make him a disruptive presence. Instead, though, Loving is a loafer, routinely driven past and without the tenacity to get into and stay in a stance, compete, fight for position or fight to recover. Were Loving so innately good of a shot maker that he offset the points he gave up, or at least committed enough to the rebounding end of the ball that he won possessions that way, that would be one thing. As it is, though, Loving is disinterested defensively. He is also often disinterested offensively. Given that he spurns the post-up play (wise, given his wiry frame) and handles the ball little, a player of his length, smooth athleticism, finishing ability and finesse should be working to cut to the rim, run the court, play at least one half of the pick-and-roll more and look to create opportunities through movement. Instead, though, Loving wants to be a shooter, and yet the results are not there. With a profile like his, shooting should open up the rest of the game, not supplant it. Alas. There is still time. Loving is still young. But five years of relatively high platforms on which to showcase himself have not seen much […]
Manu Lecomte PG – 5’11, 175lbs – Born 16th August 1995 Agua Caliente Clippers In Lecomte’s first professional season – one which subsequently saw him sign with Spanish team Murcia after the G-League season ended – Lecomte showed the same package of offensive skills he had for two years at Miami, two years at Baylor, and a decade with Belgium. To overcome such a small stature relies upon great quickness and excellent shot-making ability. Lecomte has both, and to shoot a .604% true shooting percentage when standing only 5’11 is impressive. Forming a good two-man game with Brandon Fields, Lecomte can both catch and shoot to good effect, as well as create space for jump shots with a tight handle and quick changes of direction. Able to play both on and off the ball, Lecomte shoots off the catch, off the dribble, off screens, is unafraid to get into the paint (if ineffective as a finisher once there), shoots a pull-up and is plenty active with his movement when not on the ball. It is unusual and not entirely comfortable for a 5’11 player to be better off the ball, but with his quick release, sweet shooting ability, constant motion and knowledge of where to run to as a weak side/kick-out shooting threat, it is a role Lecomte is effective within. The size, though, is naturally inhibiting. Although Lecomte is a disciplined offensive creator and decent pick-and-roll playmaker, who does not make many mistakes and consistently shows his wealth of high-level experience relative to his age, he is not a full time point guard. He is not a full time prober, driver-and-kicker, or game management type; his inclination is to score. And the size truly becomes an issue defensively, where, although he can stay in front with his […]
Demarcus Holland SG – 6’4, 179lbs – Born 2nd March 1994 Agua Caliente Clippers Holland has just completed his second season of professional play, and his second in the GLeague after a full debut campaign with the South Bay Lakers that resulted in a summer league stint for the parent club. From an NBA point of view, there is a lot to like in his physical profile. Despite being small for the shooting guard position, Holland is an excellent athlete with long arms, foot speed and leaping ability. Primarily, he uses these physical advantages to do two things – run the court at every opportunity, and play some very harassing defence. Always looking to get involved, Holland plays the passing lanes and applies ball pressure on opposing guards, making himself quite the defensive nuisance. However, the offensive skills remain sorely underdeveloped. It is hard to find a role for Holland in the half court game, as although his physical profile should make him an excellent cutter, the lack of consistent jump shooting ability (probably not helped by such a high arc) makes him no great decoy. Holland does little with the ball in his hands, unable to shoot or pass on the move, and yet he does often try to do things offensively outside of his (or what should be his) comfort level. He plays offensively with the same energy and enthusiasm that he brings to the defensive end, yet it is much less helpful there. Nevertheless, a combination of speed, length, commitment, defence and transition opportunities are a good package on which to build a multi-year professional career. Holland now just needs to be careful that he does not sign with a European team under the illusion that he is going to play point guard for them, […]
Brandon Fields PG/SG – 6’4, 195lbs – Born 13th August 1988 Agua Caliente Clippers After three years away, Fields came back to the G-League this season, perhaps looking for some stability in a professional career that has thus far taken him to about 176 different countries (give or take). Stability in turn is what he gave Agua Caliente this season at both guard positions. Never the best shooter with that Eric Gordon-looking release of his, Fields spent more time on the ball this season, looking to find his team mates and playing pick-and-roll/pop with Anthony Bennett. Not quite the explosive athlete he was in his youth, Fields is now more of a prober than the relentless attacker he once was, and as his explosion subsides, he instead looks to pass more on the move now. On a team that featured Manu Lecomte and Jamel Artis in such big doses, there was no primary point guard required nor available in the traditional sense. All three would take their turns, and Fields was no exception. He could still however get to the rim in transition, and although his perimeter shot-making has never been the strength of his game, 35.6% from three-point range is good enough. Losing the athleticism of his youth and instead becoming wiser and calmer is a sensible aspiration for us all, and it is a transition Fields handled well this season. Because of that, there is nothing appealing to the next level. Without standing out on defence or as a shooter, Fields is not a game changer and barely a net positive at this level of competition. That said, after many nomadic years, Fields may have found the right place for himself. – 20th June, 2019 This above is extracted from the following page in the The […]
Anthony Bennett PF – 6’8, 235lbs – Born 14th March 1993 Agua Caliente Clippers This may have been the year that Anthony Bennett finally became the player he could always have been. Drafted on account of his perceived combination of size and perimeter skill, Bennett has over the last two seasons become an absolutely excellent shooter. That true shooting percentage of .721% is not being done through dunks. Rather, the vast majority of Bennett’s field goal attempts are jumpers, often from behind the three-point line, and more often than not above the break. Hitting 42.2% from three-point range in parts of four G-League seasons, what was once an ancillary part of his game has now become the core of it. Bennett can still play pick-and-roll basketball, and also gets some paint touches. More often than not, though, those paint touches lead to turnarounds or step-back mid-range jumpers, usually involving the glass. Bennett’s clear-cut preference is for the jump shot, and he can normally be found screening at the top of the key, calling for a pick-and-pop jumper, and shooting them with boundless confidence. More importantly, he is becoming the exceptionally elite finisher rather than the inefficient creator. Bully ball didn’t work at the next level, so instead, Bennett has honed the en vogue skill. The NBA craves multi-positional shooting, and Bennett has absolutely put himself in the running with this striking efficiency. Defensively, things have not improved as much. Bennett is disadvantaged by not having either great length or foot speed, but the effort level could, as ever, stand to improve. Nevertheless, when he shoots this well, this often, Bennett does not give back as much as he gives. And he has made his call-up credentials legitimate with his play this season. – 20th June, 2019 This above […]
J.J. Avila PF – 6’8, 250lbs – Born 11th October 1991 Agua Caliente Clippers Notwithstanding the sample size, if Avila can continue to shoot the three-point shot as well as he has done this season, he adds a further dimension to his paint-based interior game, a game that already makes him a threat at this and any comparable professional level. With a big, wide, strong frame, Avila’s origins are to be found in the paint, where he has skill to go with the size. His slow, languid drives are nevertheless effective, getting to the rim and finishing through contact, and he is also a very good passer on the move. With good feet and touch, he can be a hub offensively despite his athletic disadvantages; an offensive creator more than just a finisher, Avila has long had a decent mid-range shot to go with the unselfishness and passing vision, and if he is adding corner three-point range to that, even better. Those same athletic disadvantages, however, do make a difference defensively. Avila’s good hands make him very effective at slapping the ball away from opposing post players or drivers to the rim, yet beyond that, he needs some covering for defensively. The good footwork offensively gives way to slow feet defensively, and while his strength allows him to carve out space on the rebounding glass, Avila does not have the speed to track the ball outside of his area, nor the leaping ability to quickly jump twice. His lack of foot speed is particularly troubling when caught in space, switching onto speedsters or battling against face-up four men, and if he is to be played at centre in a drop-back situation, he lacks the length, leap and shot blocking instincts to be much of a paint protector. Nevertheless, […]