Advertisement

Clippers player-by-player report cards for the 2021-22 season

Clippers players gather before the start of their second play-in tournament game.
Clippers players gather before the start of their second play-in tournament game, a loss that night ending their 2021-22 season.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Share
1

Times staff writer Andrew Greif breaks down each Clippers player‘s situation by key stats, contract status, preseason expectations, current reality and what the future holds.

2

KAWHI LEONARD

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard defends Lakers forward LeBron James.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Key stats: Did not play in 2021-22 after undergoing knee surgery in July.

Contract status: Three years remaining, the last a player option; owed $42.4 million next season.

The expectation on Oct. 21: To miss most, if not all of the season because of his injury while retaining a sliver of hope that he could return in the postseason.

The reality on April 16: Leonard never played a single minute.

The future: The franchise’s championship hopes hinge on the ability of Leonard, who will be 31 next season, to return to an All-NBA level and stay healthy.

3

PAUL GEORGE

Clippers forward Paul George elevates past Lakers stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James for a layup.
(Luis Sinco / Associated Press)

Advertisement

Key stats: 24.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, a career-high 5.7 assists and career-high-tying 2.2 steals. Missed 53 games, largely because of a torn ligament in his right elbow. Shot 46% on two-pointers and 35% from three, his lowest accuracy since his rookie season in 2010-11.

Contract status: Three years remaining, the last a player option; owed $42.4 million next season.

The expectation on Oct. 21: In Leonard’s absence, to reprise his role from Indiana as the do-everything leader of a roster with one All-Star.

The reality on April 16: George fulfilled expectations — when available. After entering the most-valuable-player discussion through the season’s first six weeks, the elbow injury derailed his next three-plus months. The Clippers’ offense ranked first once he returned late in the season, but he couldn’t push them into playoffs after missing the season-ending loss while in health and safety protocols.

The future: As with Leonard, George remains a foundational piece of the team’s plans to chase a championship. And as with Leonard, those dreams will be possible only if George, 32 next season, remains healthy.

4

IVICA ZUBAC

Clippers center Ivica Zubac blocks a shot by Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga.
(Jed Jacobsohn / Associated Press)

Key stats: Set career highs with 24.4 minutes, 10.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks in 76 games. Among the 31 players to average at least 10 points and eight rebounds, Zubac’s 62% shooting ranked fifth.

Contract status: Team option worth $7.5 million.

The expectation on Oct. 21: Do the dirty work to keep the defense and offense steady and remain the roster’s ironman for durability.

The reality on April 16: Held on to his starting job all season. Improved as a passer out of pick and rolls. Held opponents to 56% shooting within six feet of the rim on shots he defended. During the play-in tournament, his role decreased as the Clippers used small lineups.

The future: The Clippers have until June 29 to do what is expected and exercise their option on the final season of Zubac’s contract. It’s one of the best bang-for-the-buck deals in the league.

Advertisement
5

REGGIE JACKSON

Clippers guard Reggie Jackson encourages fans to cheer.
Clippers guard Reggie Jackson encourages fans to cheer during a win over the Lakers.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Key stats: A career-high 31.2 minutes and 16.3 shots per game with a two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio. Shot 43% inside the arc and 32% beyond it, his lowest accuracy in five years, but on a career-high volume of nearly seven three-point attempts per game.

Contract status: One year left, owed $11.2 million.

The expectation on Oct. 21: Maintain the career resurgence that created his breakthrough 2021 postseason while helping fill the scoring void left by Leonard’s injury.

The reality on April 16: A workhorse who played a team-high 2,337 minutes, Jackson took on an even heavier burden than expected after George’s injury. His efficiency sagged at times under the workload, but his dependability as a leader was never questioned.

The future: With a full roster, the 32-year-old point guard won’t be tasked with doing as much, which could lead to an increase in his efficiency stats. His connection with teammates and fans has made him part of the team’s identity.

6

NICOLAS BATUM

Clippers forward Nicolas Batum power his way to the basket against Nuggets guard Bones Hyland.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Key stats: Averaged 24.8 minutes in 54 games, with 60% shooting inside the arc that marked his best accuracy since 2010 and 40% three-point accuracy, the first time in his career he shot at least 40% from deep in consecutive seasons.

Advertisement

Contract status: Player option for next season worth $3.3 million.

The expectation on Oct. 21: As he had during his resurgent 2020-21 season, act as the roster’s glue coming off the bench by directing the offense and defense with his intelligence and experience.

The reality on April 16: A litany of absences led to a stop-start season in which his momentum felt fleeting, but Batum’s influence on the Clippers’ winning habits was undeniable as he often was pushed into the starting lineup. Batum increased his value by guarding centers more frequently, often frustrating stars like Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns.

The future: His deadline to decide whether to pick up his player option is June 29. Other suitors could offer more money if he declines his option, but the Clippers can offer a title pursuit and an environment in which he feels trusted and comfortable. Batum said he had yet to make a decision but hinted “it will be fun next year.”

7

MARCUS MORRIS SR.

Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. yells after making a three-pointer against the Pelicans.
Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. reacts after making a three-pointer against the Pelicans.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Key stats: Played 54 games, averaging 29 minutes and 15.4 points while shooting 47% inside the arc and 36% from deep, slightly below his career average. Three-pointers accounted for the smallest share of his overall shot selection in four seasons.

Contract status: Two years remaining; owed $16.3 million next season.

The expectation on Oct. 21: To help compensate for Leonard’s injury by having more of the offensive and defensive responsibilities go through him.

The reality on April 16: After a knee issue led him to miss 15 of the first 17 games, Morris joined Jackson as the two Clippers who shouldered the largest workloads while George was sidelined. Also was a key locker-room voice whom coach Tyronn Lue credited for maintaining strong chemistry.

The future: With Leonard coming back and the possibility Batum and Robert Covington also will be back, Morris could be viewed as a valuable shot-maker but ultimately high-cost redundancy among a glut of wings. The Clippers are widely expected to look at Morris’ contract as a way to facilitate potential trades to upgrade the roster.

8

NORMAN POWELL

Clippers guard Norman Powell elevates above Pelicans guard C.J McCollum for a layup.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Key stats: Averaged a career-high 20 points in seven games after his arrival from Portland in February, including two play-in games. Made 54% of his three-pointers in five regular-season games, well above his 38% career average.

Contract status: Four years remaining, owed $16.7 million next season.

The expectation on Feb. 4: To become the ultimate complementary wing surrounding a future core starring Leonard and George.

The reality on April 16: Injuries allowed for only a brief window into how Powell and George could play together, but Powell displayed why the Clippers were glad they acquired him. His ability to draw fouls applies pressure to defenses.

The future: Powell’s value lies in his defensive versatility and ability to shapeshift as necessary around Leonard and George on offense — acting like a lead scorer at times, a third option at others.

9

ROBERT COVINGTON

Clippers forward Robert Covington drives against Lakers forward LeBron James.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Key stats: In 23 games (two starts), averaged 10.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 60% shooting inside the arc, 45% three-point accuracy and a franchise-record 11 three-pointers on April 1.

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent.

The expectation on Feb. 4: After being acquired in a trade with Portland, to bolster the defense while giving the Clippers at least two months to get to know him ahead of free agency.

The reality on April 16: With flypaper-like hands in help defense and 44% accuracy on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, Covington became one of their top targets to retain. The Clippers outscored opponents by 11.9 points per 100 possessions with Covington on the floor, a team-high plus-minus.

The future: Covington called winning his priority as he weighs his future. “It’s been a great transition and of course I would like to return,” Covington said Friday. “We’ll just see how the tides roll.”

10

TERANCE MANN

Clippers guard Terance Mann beats the Bucks defense for a layup.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Key stats: Team-high 81 games, career-high 28.6 minutes while averaging double digits in points (10.8) for the first time in his three-year career.

Advertisement

Contract status: Three seasons remaining, with next year’s team option — which already has been exercised — worth $1.9 million.

The expectation on Oct. 21: Build off his breakout 2021 postseason and cement himself as part of the bench rotation by maintaining his physical defense while growing from finishing plays to initiating offense.

The reality on April 16: The Clippers won his 2,317 minutes by 60 points. He took over the backup point guard role after the trade deadline and built trust within the coaching staff. After the All-Star break, his averages in three-point and free-throw accuracy, assists, rebounds and plus-minus rating improved.

The future: Mann’s two-year, $22-million contract extension doesn’t kick in until the 2023-24 season.

11

LUKE KENNARD

Clippers guard Luke Kennard holds his shooting hand aloft as he watches the arc of a three-pointer.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Key stats: League-high 44.9% three-point accuracy. The Clippers outscored opponents by 184 points in Kennard’s 1,919 minutes, a team-high overall plus-minus rating.

Contract status: Three seasons remaining, the last a team option, and owed $13.7 million next season.

The expectation on Oct. 21: After inconsistent minutes during his first season with the team, to become a mainstay of coach Tyronn Lue’s rotation by looking for his shot more often.

The reality on April 16: Though Lue still was frustrated at times when Kennard passed up shots, the guard turned a corner and became more comfortable being aggressive, attempting six three-pointers per game (up from 3.6 the previous season). More than two-thirds of his shots, and points, came from behind the arc, by far the highest of his career. Of the 64 players who made at least 100 catch-and-shoot three-pointers, Kennard’s 45.8% accuracy ranked third.

The future: The Clippers’ title hopes are built around role players in support of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Kennard’s ability to hurt opponents while barely needing the ball fits an important need, and Lue values elite shooting as a salve that can help cover up a lineup’s shortcomings.

12

ISAIAH HARTENSTEIN

Clippers center Isaiah Hartenstein reacts after a play.
(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

Key stats: Career highs of 68 games, 17.9 minutes and 8.3 points per game. Opponents shot 52.5% within six feet on shots Hartenstein defended, the 10th-best mark among 68 centers who played at least half the season.

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent.

The expectation on Oct. 21: Having beaten out Moses Wright and Harry Giles to earn a contract out of training camp, to challenge Serge Ibaka for the backup center job.

The reality on April 16: Hartenstein finished fifth in total assists, had nearly a two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio and his defense at the rim helped him blow past expectations. The team guaranteed his contract in January and traded Ibaka one month later. One knock on Hartenstein? His penchant for drawing fouls in a hurry.

The future: The Clippers do not have Hartenstein’s Bird rights, which would allow the team to exceed the salary cap to re-sign him. Would they use their taxpayer midlevel exception on a backup center?

13

AMIR COFFEY

Clippers wing Amir Coffey throws down a two-handed dunk.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Key stats: Career highs of 69 games, 22.7 minutes, 9.0 points, 54% shooting inside the arc, 86% from the free-throw line while also shooting 37% on nearly four three-pointers per game. Scored a career-high 35 points on April 10.

Contract status: Restricted free agent.

The expectation on Oct. 21: Polish his game on both ends of the court and fill whatever hole the team needed after he signed a second two-way contract immediately before training camp.

The reality on April 16: Blowing past all best-case hopes earned Coffey his first standard NBA contract in late March. After playing 12 minutes a game before Paul George’s injury, Coffey averaged 26.5 the rest of the season — starting 30 times — and was used as a pick-and-roll ballhandler.

The future: To retain the first right of refusal on any contract offer Coffey receives, the Clippers must extend a one-year qualifying offer by June 29 to make him a restricted free agent, a move that’s likely. They also have his Bird rights. Is there room for him on a roster that could be loaded with wings?

Advertisement
14

RODNEY HOOD

Clippers wing Rodney Hood during a game in Denver.
Clippers guard Rodney Hood during a game in Denver.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Key stats: 13 games, 128 total minutes, 34 points and made six of 11 three-pointers.

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent.

The expectation on Feb. 10: Provide emergency wing depth following his arrival from Milwaukee as part of the trade offloading Serge Ibaka while allowing the Clippers a few months to evaluate him for the future.

The reality on April 16: Hood finished his eighth season at the end of the Clippers’ bench as expected. While the team waived Semi Ojeleye, who arrived via the same trade, in late March, the Clippers hung on to Hood.

The future: Hood’s one-year minimum contract is expiring and it’s likely he’s headed for a similar deal in free agency depending on which teams believe in the utility of the big wing whose three-point accuracy dipped to 31% over the last two seasons.

15

BRANDON BOSTON JR.

Clippers guard Brandon Boston Jr. celebrates after making a three-pointer.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Key stats: 51 games, 30% three-point shooting, 42% shooting inside the arc while shooting 32% on catch-and-shoot opportunities and 34% on pull-ups. Scored a career-high 27 points on Dec. 8.

Contract status: Two more seasons, though the final season is not guaranteed. Owed $1.5 million next season.

The expectation on Oct. 21: Begin the process of building toward the caliber of player who one day could play alongside the roster’s core during postseason minutes.

The reality on April 16: Boston showed flashes along with inconsistency yet didn’t hang his head when, after the trade deadline, he appeared in 12 of 26 games.

The future: Boston must improve defensively and score without the ball always in his hands to establish a foothold in the rotation. He’ll never lack for confidence.

16

XAVIER MOON

Clippers guard Xavier Moon drives down the lane against the Pelicans.
(Gerald Herbert / Associated Press)

Advertisement

Key stats: 10 games, 137 minutes and 54% shooting on two-pointers and 35% from three, with a three-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio.

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent.

The expectation on Oct. 21: Play point guard for the G League’s Agua Caliente Clippers.

The reality on April 16: Called up in late December on a hardship exemption as COVID thinned the roster, Moon impressed with his quick grasp of the team’s sets and his easy locker-room fit. The team rewarded him with a two-way contract in late March.

The future: Last summer, Moon bought out his contract to play in Europe to give himself a shot at the NBA. He’ll have opportunities abroad again but easily could be in an NBA training camp to start next season.

17

JAY SCRUBB

Clippers guard Jay Scrubb takes a jump shot against Thunder forward Charlie Brown Jr.
(Associated Press)

Key stats: 18 appearances, 121 total minutes, shooting 48% inside the arc and 28% beyond it, both improvements of at least four percentage points from his rookie season.

Contract status: In the final year of an expiring two-way contract.

The expectation on Oct. 21: Use what he learned while recovering from a foot injury as a rookie to continue to develop his all-around game beyond his top-level athleticism.

The reality on April 16: Scrubb’s opportunity was cut short after he suffered a turf toe injury in his right foot that required season-ending surgery Feb. 9.

The future: The Clippers have until June 29 to make Scrubb a restricted free agent by extending a one-year qualifying offer. The Clippers’ roster and title timeline aren’t really built to provide minutes to developing players like Scrubb.

18

JASON PRESTON

Clippers guard Jason Preston and Utah's Jarrell Brantley try to collect a loose ball.
(Associated Press)

Key stats: Zero games played because of a foot injury suffered before training camp.

Contract status: Two years remaining, though the last season is not guaranteed. Owed $1.5 million next season.

The expectation on Oct. 21: Use his recovery time to add to his game everywhere possible except on the court in hopes of giving him a head start toward a rotation role in 2022-23.

Advertisement

The reality on April 16: Preston added strength to his frame and sophistication to his understanding of how to run an NBA offense from copious film study, but his on-court time was limited to workouts before tipoff during the last month.

The future: The Clippers have high hopes for the point guard with preternatural anticipation and passing. Yet how many opportunities the young player will have to make mistakes is difficult to predict with the team expected to pursue a point guard while transitioning into a title-or-bust pursuit.

Advertisement