An ability to drive to the basket and a four-year NBA resume earned Sean Kilpatrick a job with the Clippers, who signed the 6-foot-4 shooting guard to a 10-day contract Sunday. Kilpatrick, waived by Milwaukee on Friday, was in uniform for Sunday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
“We just need downhill guards that attack,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “We went through the whole list, and we think that’s what Sean does well. He kind of matches our DNA a little bit in what we’ve had this year, guys who are tough, who have an edge. Those are the types of players we’re looking for.
“And we really wanted a guy with some kind of NBA experience. We’re trying to make the playoffs here. This is not like a team that signs a 10-day guy just to fill a roster spot. Our 10-day guys can possibly start tonight or the next game.”
Kilpatrick, 28, appeared in 39 games for the Bucks and Nets this season, averaging 4.4 points and 9.9 minutes. The fourth-year pro started 24 of 70 games for the Nets in 2016-2017, averaging 13.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists.
He had a memorable game against the Clippers on Nov. 29, 2016, scoring a career-high 38 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in a 127-122 double-overtime Nets win.
“I’m happy for Sean, he deserves to be in this league,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said before the game. “I just hope he doesn’t go for 30 against us tonight.”
With injuries sidelining Patrick Beverley (knee surgery), Avery Bradley (sports hernia) and Jawun Evans (sore lower abdominal), and the two-way contracts of C.J. Williams and Tyrone Wallace expired, the Clippers were down to four healthy guards — Austin Rivers, Milos Teodosic, Lou Williams and Sindarius Thornwell.
Kilpatrick gives Doc Rivers another backcourt option, and if he plays well, he could earn another 10-day contract, a prorated deal for the rest of this season or a multiyear deal.
But Rivers said the Clippers haven’t necessarily given up on Wallace and Williams, who have not had their two-way deals converted into NBA contracts.
Wallace started 12 of the 21 games he played for the Clippers, averaging 10.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists, and Williams started 16 of the 30 games he played for the Clippers, averaging 5.9 points.
“We’re still negotiating with the agents for Ty and C.J.,” Rivers said. “While that’s going on, we’re not gonna stop. We can’t wait for them. So right now, we’re just looking for players who can help our team.
“If Sean comes in and earns it, it’ll be his job. Or, we’ll go back to C.J. and Ty. We like them all, but we still have to figure out who the best fit is.”
Forward Danilo Gallinari, diagnosed with a nondisplaced fracture of his right hand, said he hopes to return in about two weeks. The wrist, which initial X-rays showed was only bruised, is in a soft brace, but Gallinari has no doubt he’ll return for the playoff push.
“I need to be back, the team needs me,” said Gallinari, who is averaging 15.9 points and 4.9 rebounds. “I have to wait for the bone to recover and for the inflammation to go down, but I’m relieved to know what it is.”