When they landed Terance Mann with the 48th pick in the 2019 NBA draft, the Clippers sensed they’d had themselves a keeper. Mann has shown flashes of brilliance, particularly last season, and is expected to play a key role for the team this year in the absence of Kawhi Leonard.
Could the Clippers have struck gold again in the second round of the draft with Kentucky forward Brandon Boston? That’s the feeling of Clippers coach Ty Lue, who credited LeBron James with leading him to see Boston in the first place. In fact, James is a Boston backer.
Boston and James’ son, Bronny, were teammates at Sierra Canyon High School.
“It means a lot,” Lue said during the Clippers’ loss to the Trail Blazers in Summer League this week. “I seen him play because I went to go watch Bronny play. Bron’s a big fan—big LeBron is a big fan of Brandon. Happy to see him be on our team. He wanted to be with us and we’re just happy for him.”
Brandon Boston Considered a Top 10 Recruit at Kentucky
Boston may prove to be a diamond in the rough by draft position, but fact is, he has not come from a particularly rough setting, basketball-wise. Boston was considered a surefire Top 10 pick when he went from Sierra Canyon to Kentucky this year, and he was ranked the No. 7 recruit in the nation by ESPN for the Class of 2020.
He was not expected, then, to be a guy who would be on the board at No. 51. But Boston averaged just 11.5 points and 4.5 rebounds for a disappointing Wildcats squad, though, and worse, he shot just 35.5% from the field.
He broke his finger last summer, and, according to coach John Calipari, was not the same when Kentucky’s season got started.
In a statement after Boston announced he was leaving Lexington for the NBA, Calipari said:
I am proud of the growth and development Brandon underwent this season. Brandon would be the first to tell you this season wasn’t easy. It was tough and filled with challenges. But what impressed me with him is how he handled any adversity thrown his way like a professional would — with maturity and with a work ethic that some of our best guys in that league have had. Breaking his finger over the summer set him back but he just kept working. BJ got so much better as the season went on and has only scratched the surface of who he is going to become as a player.
Boston Signed a Record Deal When Joining the Clippers
That is at the heart of the Clippers’ expectations for Boston, who was given a record deal for a player drafted No. 50 or below—two years, worth $2.5 million guaranteed, with a team option for a third year. The team sees him, still, as the kid who played with LeBron James’ son and has Top-10 potential.
He has been inconsistent in two games in Summer League, posting 9.0 points in two games, on 31.8% shooting. He has gone 4-for-11 shooting on 3-pointers.
But the bet on Boston is likely a longer play than the one on Mann, because while Mann was already 22 when he was drafted, Boston is only 19.
There is undeniable potential with Boston, as Lue saw in high school. And it helps that he has the endorsement of the game’s biggest star.