Diamond Stone sparsely saw the floor for the Clippers during his rookie campaign, which is of little surprise for a combination of reasons. First off, Doc Rivers isn’t very fond of playing rookies/younger guys, as Clipper fans have seen with C.J. Wilcox, Reggie Bullock and Branden Dawsen. It didn’t help that Stone was a second round pick in a front court that also featured DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, Brandon Bass, Marresse Speights, Paul Pierce and Brice Johnson, a fellow rookie. Despite Griffin and Johnson’s injury, there was plenty of size, and it was boosted by Wesley Johnson and Luc Richard MBah A Moute’s ability to play the four in a small ball line-up.
Strengths: Hard to come up with anything where Stone excelled, as he appeared in just seven games for the Clippers, averaging a whopping 3.4 minutes. In the limited time, he scored 1.4 points, grabbed .9 rebounds and committed .7 fouls. Checking his development league numbers, Stone appeared in 13 games, averaging 21.7 minutes and putting up 16.2 points and 7 rebounds to go with a block while shooting over 49%.
Weaknesses: Stone already has one area where he needs work, and that is foul trouble. Per36, Stone averaged 7.5 fouls, not something you want from your big man. In the D-League, Stone was at 3.5 fouls in 21.7 minutes, fouling out on two occasions where he played 23 and 24 minutes. His field goal percentage was 23.1% during the seven games in the NBA, however, that isn’t a good sample size to make a proper judgement as he took just 13 total shots.
Best Moment: Stone’s best moment came in a D-League appearance, where he helped the Salt Lake City Stars to a 121-104 victory over the Reno Big
Horns, scoring 20 points on 8-14 shooting off the bench, finishing with a +22, four better than the second best Star (Sundiata Gaines who had a triple double). Reno featured Sacramento King prospect, Georgios Papagiannis.
Worst Moment: With foul trouble being an issue, Stars Coach, Dean Cooper, gave Stone four consecutive “DNP-Coach’s Decision.” Stone had five fouls and five turnovers the match prior, while fouling out on the appearance two before the DNP’s racked up.
Summary/Outlook: Stone was a solid contributor at Maryland, helping Melo Trimble lead the Terrapins to the Sweet 16 and with one more guaranteed year, at a low rookie scale, it is not expected that the financially strapped Clippers will be moving on from the young big man. With the projected departures of Bass and Speights, while Griffin is a toss-up, Stone could have a solid opportunity to earn some playing time during the 2017-18 campaign.
Final Grade: Incomplete.