At the end of week 2 in the G League bubble, the Agua Caliente Clippers possess a 3-4 record. Through the first half of their regular season, James Palmer Jr, Tyrone Wallace, and Donte Grantham have played the most minutes.
The absence of Coffey, his 23 threes attempted on 35 total shots in the first two games will give more of an opportunity to the rest of the squad. However, the spacing Coffey provided has been missed, as the G League Clippers make the fourth-fewest amount of threes per game in the bubble.
The second-year undrafted shooter out of Minnesota has played in only two G League games, so far. The team is 1-1 in those contests. Coffey averaged 17 points, 3.0 assists, 2.0 rebounds, and 1 steal in 32 minutes per game. On February 15, in a Los Angeles Clippers win versus the Miami Heat, the young guard played over 32 minutes and shot 5-6 from three.
In a postgame media availability on February 16, Agua Caliente guard Jordan Ford was asked to share his thoughts on Coffey’s recent NBA performance. Ford responded, “I think him coming down here and being able to get some reps in and get some shots up really helped him. I think he was really confident going into the game the other night.”
The Sacramento Kings assigned Jahmi’us Ramsey to Agua Caliente for the G League bubble, since the Stockton Kings aren’t participating. This flex assignment gives more of an opportunity to the rookie second-rounder out of Texas Tech.
Ramsey has only appeared in four of Sacramento’s games to this point. The 19-year old has already surpassed that total in the G League bubble, appearing in seven games with five starts. Playing just over 20 minutes per game, he has shown flashes of excellence.
On February 16, in a win versus the Salt Lake City Stars, Ramsey had his best game of the bubble so far. In 28 minutes, he was a +32 with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. He shot 8-17 from the field and drained two from beyond the arc.
In the post-game media availability, Ramsey spoke about his performance, “Early on, I don’t think I was aggressive. Moving forward, I want to stay this way, stay aggressive. That’s the best way to go about things for me, personally.”
Another impressive showing came in a win on February 19. As Ramsey totaled 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. The G League Clippers’ guard shot 8-12 from the field, with his only misses coming from range, where he was 1-5.
After a solid two years at Maryland, the Phoenix Suns selected big man Jalen Smith with the 10th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. With only eight NBA appearances, his flex assignment to Agua Caliente was mutually valuable.
Despite Smith joining the team on February 15, he made his G League debut the very next day. In the game the 20-year-old only featured in 7 minutes. His time on the court has increased in each of his first three games, showing the need for acclimation to his temporary new team.
In a call with reporters on February 17, Smith was asked about transitioning from the NBA to the bubble, Smith replied, “First game, I was limited because I just came out of quarantine. They had me quarantined when I came here.”
“So we wanted to limit any type of injury. And then I just got with the team so I don’t know anything yet. I don’t know any of the plays. Just pretty much out there running around. I feel like I can get better here.”
Head Coach Paul Hewitt explained Smith’s process of acclimating to a different organization, “his former AAU coach Doug Martin is on our staff, so that made the transition really smooth for him to see a familiar face. He’s a smart basketball player; he just needs some reps.”
In their next game on February 17, Smith’s playing time rose to 15 minutes. The lottery pick scored a quick 18 points on 7-9 shooting (2-2 from three), to go along with 4 rebounds and a block. The next game the rookie played in 18 minutes, compiling 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
Agua Caliente’s Other Key Contributors:
The Clippers’ veteran leader is Tyrone Wallace, who has 106 games of NBA experience and is the team’s leading scorer. Wallace plays 32 minutes per game, which is accompanied by averages of 20.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.8 steals per game.
Unfortunately, the veteran Clipper guard has missed one game in the bubble already due to a sprained big toe. Speaking about the injury, Wallace said, “It’s getting better. Still not fully 100%, but it feels a lot better from the last game I played.”
Similar to Wallace, James Palmer Jr has prior experience with Agua Caliente. Both play over 30 minutes per game, with Palmer Jr averaging 16.4 points, 4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per contest. Additionally, another player with a significant role is forward Emanuel Terry.
Through the first seven games of his third G League season, Terry is playing 27.9 minutes per game. While tallying 10.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.1 steals. This has been done on an impressive 64.3% shooting from the field.
The Upcoming Schedule for Agua Caliente:
The G League Clippers will take on the Santa Cruz Warriors on the second leg of a back-to-back on Monday, February 22. Wednesday, February 24, brings a match-up with the Long Island Nets.
After, is a game versus the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on February 26. Moving forward, Agua Caliente is set to play the G League Ignite on March 3, followed by the end of their regular season on March 6th versus the Greensboro Swarm.
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