The Los Angeles Clippers have two roster spots available. They are deep at the wing positions and still need to acquire a power forward to back up Blake Griffin. Now that most of the top free agents are off the market and the team no longer has the financial flexibility to sign players higher than the veteran’s minimum, the team should look at players in the NBA Summer League and the Developmental League.
The Summer League and Developmental League are fantastic recruiting spots because they have a plethora of young, talented players who are hungry for a shot in the NBA and are willing to accept the veteran’s minimum; it sure beats $24,000 per year. It’s like NBA pre-draft camp again for these NBA hopefuls. While the crop of talent doesn’t compare to the actual NBA, there’s always a diamond in the rough waiting to be found. In 2010, it was Jeremy Lin, current point guard of the Houston Rockets. His performance in the Summer League for the Dallas Mavericks eventually lead to a roster invitation with the Golden State Warriors. After spending time in the Developmental League, he was called up by New York Knicks and helped amass a 9-3 record when he was their starter.
This summer, the Clippers should keep an eye on Samardo Samuels, DaJuan Summers and JaMychal Green. All three just competed on the Clippers’ Summer League team.
Samuels is a 6-foot-9 power forward who last played for the Reno Bighorns in the D-League after spending three years at the end of the depth chart for the Cleveland Cavaliers. While in the D-League, Samuels has averaged 20 points and nine rebounds.
Summers, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound small forward, scored 15 points, knocked down three shots from behind the arc and had five rebounds in the Clippers’ first Summer League game against the Atlanta Hawks. He appeared in only two games last season for the Clippers but was waived last week by them. Yet, he still played for their Summer League team.
Green, another undersized power forward, last played for the San Antonio Spurs‘ D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros. He averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per game in just 24 minutes of action. All these guys have improved their games since being cut earlier in their NBA careers. Maybe one of them will finally have a guaranteed spot when the season starts this fall.