Brandon Boston Jr. — you can call him a bucket, if you please — seems to have boundless energy, and a deep well of offensive moves.
The 19-year-old was one of 10 Clippers available Thursday in Memphis, where Wright Achilles soreness landed Nicholas Buttum in a long list of unavailable Clippers, which also included Kawhi Leonard (ACL), Marcus Morris Sr. (Knee), Keon Johnson . (ankles), Jason Preston (feet) and Serge Ibaka (G-League).
Those circumstances two days earlier had conspired to give Boston 20 meaningful minutes. In their fifth NBA game, Boston contributed 13 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal to the Clippers’ 106–92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
Later, Clippers coach Tyrone Lew commended the 6-foot-7 rookie shooting guard, who, for his defense, shot 4 for 7 and 2 for 4 from 3-point range.
His scoring punch is welcome, Lew said, but “the biggest thing, I thought, he did a good job competing defensively. He really tried to understand what we wanted from our defensive plans and that. Well done.
Boston is, by all accounts, an admirable activist. And so it makes sense that he’s eating his vegetables, dedicated to hone his defensive skills and sharpening his chops on that side of the ball.
But the former Chatsworth Sierra Canyon High star has a lot of ground before his skills as a stoker to approach his qualifications as a scorer.
On Tuesday, Boston shook DeJonte Murray to an easy 15-foot fade. Afterwards, he followed Reggie Jackson’s instructions and positioned himself for a quick 3-pointer.
Boston then used a rear crossover and some slinky, Shai Gilgius-Alexander-esque moves to overtake Trey Jones and reach the rim for a layup – and a foul.
And then Boston closed down another 3-pointer after dancing down the Clippers’ scoring laser with 32 seconds into the midcourt.
Asked after the win if he had any moves that opened up his coffers, Boston said no.
“Every move, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said with a grin. “So I know the defense doesn’t know what I’m going to do.”
Clippers star Paul George said, “He’s just being young, it’s just instinct.” “He plays by instinct. He does what comes to his mind. Once he is able to understand the game and see how the defense is protecting him, and then once he knows No matter what he is doing, he will reach a point where he will be offensively invincible. But for him everything is just instinct. He reacts instinctively and can get lost in the game.”
“He’s not scared,” said Lew. “He’s going to play now. Whatever the defense gives him, he’s going to take it. And sometimes it’s good to know what you’re going to do because you don’t predetermine what you’re going to do. You just go out and play.”
inside and out
Amir Coffey made his third career NBA debut on Thursday, moving to Butam, who started both halves against the Spurs but played only 14 minutes as the Clippers sought to rest his sore Achilles.
Terrence Mann – who missed Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday after spraining his left ankle – was back in the lineup, coming off the bench as usual in Memphis.
Meanwhile, in California, Ibaka looked set to end her four-game G League run with Ontario leader Caliente Clippers in their home opener on Thursday night.
The veteran center said Wednesday that he wants to join the development wing of the organization to get back in basketball shape after back surgery in June. During his first three games, he averaged 13.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 blocked shots in 26.3 minutes.
“I’m fine now,” Ibaka said via Zoom. “That’s all I need.”