SUMMERS LOOKING TO MAKE MOST OF THIRD STOP IN NBA
The back of DaJuan Summers’ practice jersey had no number or name. But less than a few hours after officially agreeing to a 10-day contract with the Clippers, Summers was on the court Friday as part of the team’s two-hour workout at their Playa Vista Training Facility.
The 25-year-old former Georgetown standout and 2009 second round draft pick of the Pistons is the second youngster the Clippers have brought aboard in the last week. After the roster remained unchanged for the better part of five months guard Maalik Wayns was signed to a 10-day contract on March 9, and Summers was brought in Friday after second-year forward Trey Thompkins was waived.
“[DaJuan’s] a good kid, works hard, gives us a 3-4 combo guy,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Maalik the same thing, we need some bodies now with the injuries we had and some practice time.”
Summers is 6-foot-8, a versatile defender, can score, rebounds well for his size and has prior NBA experience. He spent two seasons with the Pistons before playing in Italy during the lockout and 15 games with the Hornets last year.
After being waived by the Bobcats in the preseason, Summers has averaged 18.0 points and 7.6 rebounds in 29 games with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League. And on Friday became the 26th player called up to the NBA this season.
“That was my first time being down in the D-League and getting to play consistent minutes,” Summers said. “Every game I was at least 30 minutes-plus. I was able to work out my kinks, knowing where to get my shots, learning how to go after rebounds, knowing how to play guys when they’re hot, when they’re cold. That was the most helpful thing, being able to play consistently.”
Summers, who grew up in Baltimore, said he was at his house in Portland, Maine, when he got an unexpected call from his agent. “I was in the house, sitting around when my agent called me and he was like, ‘I’ve got some good news.’ And I hopped on the plane the next morning.”
He flew into Los Angeles yesterday and the Clippers announced the signing Friday morning, just in time for him to suit up. With Grant Hill’s court time still being monitored, Eric Bledsoe’s balky left calf and Caron Butler’s return Friday from a left elbow strain, Summers could prove a valuable practice player for the team.
At the end of Friday’s practice he played one-on-one with Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, Ryan Hollins and Wayns.
Asked what he was told the expectations for him are, Summers said, “Just knowing the 3 and the 4, being able to play multiple positions. That one-on-one session was good, being able to guard the best point guard, the best power forward and the best 2 guard in Jamal Crawford. Just that versatility is what’s been asked of me.”
Del Negro said it was equally important to get young players in the mix to evaluate them for the future.
“[We wanted] to just get them into the program a little bit, get them into the system,” Del Negro said of Summers and Wayns. “And evaluate some younger players that we feel have a chance to play well.”
“They fit into what we are trying to do here on consistent basis. They fit into the environment and the culture. They’re workers. They’re good kids. We just want to make them better.”