The LA Clippers have assigned rookie center Diamond Stone to a new NBA D-League team, this time sending him to the Salt Lake City Stars.
With Brice Johnson being ruled out in October with a back injury and 19-year-old Diamond Stone not being developed to professional level, the LA Clippers‘ rookies from the 2016 NBA Draft haven’t made their mark with the team yet. That’ll likely continue for some time, but the Clippers have helped Stone along with his developmental process by assigning him to the NBA D-League.
Most recently, this involves his assignment to the Salt Lake City Stars, as the team announced on December 27th.
In his first spell in the D-League, Stone appeared in four games and started twice for the Santa Cruz Warriors. He averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and one block in his 17 minutes per game, and pretty much showed off the kind of post skill and flashes of lengthy rim protection that the Clippers hope to see flourish one day in the NBA.
He also had 31 points in just 25 minutes in his D-League debut, which instantly gave Clippers fans a sense of excitement that he can start finding his confidence and honing his game when he actually gets a chance to play.
Minutes just aren’t going to be something he’ll freely have if left with the LA Clippers, though. They have too much talent, and even with Blake Griffin out after knee surgery, there aren’t many frontcourt minutes left behind DeAndre Jordan and Marreese Speights for Stone to get any more run than brief appearances in garbage time. Plus, seeing as Stone has largely looked out of his depth in such times anyway, it’s clear the D-League is more appropriate.
Hopefully, Stone will continue to expand the range of his jump shot so he’s more comfortable from three-point range, and learn how to defend effectively and work on his positioning to avoid fouling so much. He has a great frame with length to utilize if he knows how to.