Clippers’ Summer League Wing Players:
Player to Watch: Sindarius Thornwell
The senior wing player from South Carolina slipped much further than experts expected, allowing the Clippers to nab him with the 48th pick LA purchased from Milwaukee. One of the more NBA-Ready players on the Summer League roster despite being a rookie, the 2017 SEC Player of the Year averaged 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.1 steals and made the All-SEC Defensive Team in 2016 and 2017.
At 6’5 with a 6’10 wingspan and a reliable three-point shot (Thornwell shot 39 percent from three in his senior season), the 23-year-old has the potential to be the three-and-D style wing player that the Clippers have been missing the past few seasons. Thornwell’s play was a key factor in the Gamecocks making a Final Four run in last year’s NCAA Tournament and appears to have the game and the maturity level to make an immediate impact for the Clippers.
Johnson, undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, will be playing in the NBA Summer League for the third year in a row after playing for the Rockets in the 2015 Las Vegas Summer League and the Pacers in the 2015 Orlando Summer League and for the D-League Select team in last year’s Las Vegas Summer League.
The wing player spent his 2014, ’15, and ’16 seasons playing with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League. In his 113 games with the Rio Grande Vipers, Johnson averaged 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while shooting 45 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three. Last playing for the Perth Wildcats in Australia, the 6’6 wing player will be a long shot at making the Clippers’ opening day roster, but a D-League veteran like Johnson could be valuable for a brand new G-League team.
After going undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Villanova graduate played for the Charlotte Hornet’s Las Vegas Summer League team. Since then, the shooting guard has been playing overseas in the Italian A League (Lega A), French A League (LNB Pro A) and most recently the Israeli BSL League team Hapoel Unet Holon. Bell has averaged 14.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.3 steals while shooting 47 percent from the floor and 38 percent from three while leading Hapoel Unet Holon to a lead leaguing 22-11 record. Bell’s chances of making the Clipper’s roster are slim but if the team likes what they see from his Summer League play, he may stand a chance at making the Agua Calientes Clipper’s roster.
Brown was a second-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2015 NBA Draft and appeared in 29 games of the 2015-2016 season for the Lakers, starting 11 of them. However, the Lakers ended up waiving Brown midway through the season and he was selected number one overall in the D-League Draft by the Erie Bayhawks. Brown then played small stints with the Pelicans and Magic in 2016 but ended up returning back to the Bayhawks. Brown averaged 20.3 points, 3.1 assists, and 5.4 rebounds in 24 games last season with the Bayhawks while shooting 46 percent from the floor and 47 percent from three. The Clippers’ roster at the moment only has three small forwards, Gallinari, Dekker, and Johnson. Gallo will most definitely start at the three spot but it remains to be seen whether Dekker will play small forward or power forward for the second unit. Brown is most definitely worth a look for one of the remaining spots on the Clippers’ bench and is only 24-years-old with time to improve.
Hollis Thompson has the most NBA experience out of any player on the Clippers’ Summer League roster and probably has the best chance of making it to training camp (other than the Clippers’ own draftees). After going undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft, Thompson played one year in the D-League wit the Tulsa 66ers before joining the Sixers in the 2013-2014 season. Thompson then spent the next four seasons playing for the Sixers, appearing in 256 games and starting 82. With the Sixers, Thompson averaged 7.9 points and 2.4 rebounds on 41 percent shooting and 39 percent from three.
After exercising the team option on Thompson for the 2016-2017 season, the Sixers ended up waiving him midway through the season. Thompson then played for the Windy City Bulls, Austin Spurs, and played two 10-day contracts with the New Orleans Pelicans. The wing player is a solid defender and is a capable scorer on offense, which could make him a candidate for one of the Clippers’ remaining bench spots or a spot starting on the Agua Caliente Clippers.