LA Clippers rookie Diamond Stone will be developing for quite some time as a 19 year old, but he’s already enjoying the close tutelage of Paul Pierce to expand his game.
At 19 years old, Diamond Stone is one of the youngest players in the NBA. He’s coming off a promising freshman season at Maryland that led to him being forecast as a late first-round pick according to many experts, but he still has a long way to go. Both physically as he gains strength and from a technical and basketball IQ standpoint, Stone is a work in progress. However, he’s a work in progress that the LA Clippers are excited about, and he’s been showing impressive signs of early development.
Head coach Doc Rivers has had high praise for Stone’s three-point shot and the rookie center has shown flashes of his soft touch and skill in the post in training camp and preseason already. Along with the obvious weaknesses for someone of his age and low level of experience, Stone has shown real potential.
To help him on his road to NBA success, Stone has been working closely with future Hall of Famer Paul Pierce.
Pierce has frequently been sharing knowledge with Stone at the sidelines of practice and Pierce has been offering personal training in pull-up and spot-up jumpers to help Stone’s play from distance, too.
“I think that’s something he’s done,” Doc said when answering whether Pierce’s work with Stone was encouraged by the team or something he’s opted to do himself. “Paul has been very good lately. He’s been really good. And that’s what we’ve needed.”
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“I think the guys have taken a big liking to Diamond, because he can play. He can really play. He’s young. He’s really young, and it’s gonna take time. But he’s got a chance to be a really good NBA player.”
It’s clear that Doc is impressed with Stone so far, and individual work on the technical elements of his game with Pierce and Garnett only help. Two future Hall of Famers, who have both amassed over 26,000 points and a championship in their careers, are pretty good veterans to learn from.
All of this should only give LA Clippers fans encouragement that Diamond Stone will become a contributor in the future. But, at least for a while yet, breaking the rotation won’t be easy by any means. There simply aren’t many minutes for 19-year-old rookies, especially behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan leading the frontcourt. Not to mention the fact that Doc never uses his young players too often (as a title contender with a host of talent, it’s not too surprising).
Some time in the NBA D-League seems fairly inevitable for Stone, but at least he’s learning and developing early on. Pierce is clearly doing all he can to help.