The Spurs have been one of the most successful franchises in the NBA, and this season they look to be more so than ever. They’ve had a lot of success with their current roster, but there’s always room for improvement.
The Tyronn Lue is the head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has been in the NBA for over 20 years and has coached many different players during his career.
On NBA Draft night 2021, the Los Angeles Clippers chose three players. The club made several trades to end the night with the 21st, 33rd, and 51st overall selections after going in with just the 25th overall pick. Jason Preston of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, was one of those selections at No. 33.
Preston, understandably, was still speechless in the hours after the NBA Draft.
In an exclusive interview with ClutchPoints after the NBA Draft, Jason Preston said, “Man, this entire experience has been incredible.” “For the pre-draft process, I worked out for 16 different clubs and went throughout the United States to areas I’d never visited before.
“Even before all of this, I was telling my friends and family that going to LA and simply being there has always been a goal of mine. It was incredible. I went out there with my cousin a couple of days before and we just went to Venice Beach and visited another thing that I forget about, but it was insane because it was like 70 degrees outside and I was getting tanned, and there was a great wind outside. It was definitely worth the effort. I was really taken aback by the weather and the landscape; it was breathtaking.
Preston, 21, spent three years in college, but it wasn’t until his sophomore season that he truly broke out, averaging 16.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists, and 1.4 steals on 51.5 percent field shooting and 40.7 percent from beyond the arc. His junior year, he put up identical statistics despite playing four minutes less each game and maintaining his shooting efficiency.
Jason Preston was invited in for two workouts by the Clippers, neither of which were made public in the weeks leading up to the Draft.
Jason Preston stated, “I worked out with them twice.” “I thought my workouts were fairly decent, and I knew a point guard was a position they needed to fill. I’d had a number of discussions before getting the call just before the pick was about to start. I had the opportunity to speak with Lawrence and Steve Ballmer. It was simply an incredible feeling to know that my name was going to be called. And, as I already said, I’m at a loss for words.
“First and foremost, I can’t say enough good things about the squad and the front office. Please forgive me if I’m babbling. I’m absolutely overjoyed.”
Following the Draft, President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank praised Preston, emphasizing his achievements as a junior at Ohio.
Frank remarked, “We saw him a lot last year.” “And then, this year, I think everyone took note when his game against Illinois, when he went in and defeated them, I think everyone took notice. They win the MAC Conference Tournament, and he is named MAC Player of the Year. They beat Virginia in the first round, and even though he’s 21, we were like, “Wait a minute,” because he’s grown so much, and we believe we can make his physique a lot stronger.” Even though his % seems to be excellent, we believe we can continue to improve his shot.”
When healthy, the Clippers roster is capable of contending for a championship, but it still has significant flaws. For starters, the point guard and playmaking positions are both very weak, at least until free agency kicks in. Paul George is anticipated to take over as the primary ball-handler at this time.
Depending on what transpires over the next several weeks, the Clippers may consider giving their rookies responsibilities in a season in which Kawhi Leonard may not play for the most of it.
Frank said, “We felt he was the second-best catch in this draft after Giddey.” “He has incredible vision and is a fantastic pick-and-roll player. Guys will have a great time playing with him. Passes may be made with either hand. And for a man who isn’t very tall, he’s a really excellent athlete. He doesn’t have tremendous speed, but he has incredible feel and an unorthodox style due to his ability to get to places. And we simply thought that was a characteristic we needed to bring into the group.”
Jason Preston, who wants to be a sponge, is immediately intrigued by the prospect of joining a team with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and so many other experienced players.
NEVER ALLOW OTHERS TO TELL YOU WHAT YOU CAN OR CANNOT DO.
30 July 2021 — Jason Preston (@Treballjay11)
“Man, I’m really excited to learn. I’ve spent a lot of time watching them, and not just them, but the whole Clippers squad. The list goes on and on: Pat Bev, Rondo, Zubac, Terance Mann, and so forth. I’m simply looking forward to learning and asking questions, and being a part of that culture. As the head coach, Ty Lue, I’ve only heard great things. I’m absolutely overjoyed.”
For the Clippers, their faith in a player who was an afterthought in basketball only a few years ago extends beyond the game. Preston bounced about from prep school to prep school, looking for an easy way to show off his abilities. He started on a school’s third team and worked his way up to the first squad, receiving scholarship offers along the way before deciding on Ohio.
Lawrence Frank said, “We recruit people, not just players.” “Of course, they have to be talented enough, but it’s about people, and you’re betting on individuals to have NBA careers, for want of a better word. When you’re chosen late in the first round or in the second round, you know the chances. Invariably, just 20 players in a draft make it beyond three to five years.
“You’re banking on the person, and with all of the players we selected, we clearly value competitiveness and a high work rate, as well as a love of the game and the ability to keep track of what’s essential and make sure it’s significant. And although these are young men, we’re really excited about the kind of individuals we’ve recruited to the group.”
30 July 2021 — Jamal Cristopher (@Clippers24seven)
So, if Preston is given a part in the rotation, where do you think he’ll be most useful?
“I believe with Kawhi being injured last year and in the playoffs, Paul George had to do a lot on his own and create a lot of buckets,” he says. Maybe I’m the kind of player who can take some of the burden off him, or if he needs a catch-and-shoot man or someone who can contribute on both ends of the field. Guarding one and twos, as well as creating plays for others, is something I like doing. And, as I have said, have a good effect on the culture. I can’t wait for them to have a positive person in the locker room and on the court.”
Jason Preston had planned to stay in the NBA by pursuing a journalistic profession before he became a player. He even covered the Detroit Pistons for Fansided’s Piston Powered, the team he grew up watching and idolizing.
“When I was in high school, I barely played at all, so people were constantly telling me I needed to do something other than play basketball, and if I wasn’t going to play basketball, I was going to do something connected to basketball. I’ve read a lot about it, I’ve written about it, and I’ve seen it a lot, so I figured writing about it would be ideal, and I wanted to share my thoughts on it. Growing up, I was a Pistons fan, and Tayshaun Prince, Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Sheed, and Ben Wallace were among my favorite players. That’s the group I mentioned in my article. I DM’d Duncan Smith, the editor of Pistons Powered, and he agreed to let me write some pieces. Actually, I had a few on Bleacher Report.
Thankfully, the new Clippers guard has said that he will not be pursuing any of our positions anytime soon.
Preston laughed as he replied, “Not for now.” “Not for the time being. You guys are fantastic.”
“I’m thrilled, and it seems that there is a true affection between myself and the front office, which I really appreciate.”
Preston will compete in the NBA Summer League in 2021, when he will get the opportunity to show off his talents with new colleagues Keon Johnson and Brandon Boston.
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