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Examining the Budding Potential of Johnathan Motley

On the 24th of July, the Clippers had implemented a three player trade with the Dallas Mavericks to acquire Johnathan Motley.

The deal involved a barter to the draft rights of Maarty Leunen for Johnathan Motley and Renaldas Seibutis. Likely to represent a trade which fails to carry major implications, it was overlooked by the average NBA fan.

While Seibutis and Leunen are fairly unknown prospects in their mid thirties, the youngster from Texas managed to catch the eye of the Mavericks’ faithful in the prior season. In limited minutes, his ability to generate high energy plays made him a invaluable asset coming off the bench.

However, since the inclusion of DeAndre Jordan loaded them in the big man department, they were prepared to permit the departure of Motley. Continuing to retool their roster, the Clippers were resolute in acquiring the young forward and had issued him a two-way contract.

Meeting the current Clippers culture of competitiveness and work ethic to a T; these characteristics assisted the former Baylor graduate in being furnished with the honors of inductions into the G-League Second Team, and the Big 12 First Team in his college days.

On the same note, let us dive slightly deeper into the prospective of the Clippers’ brand new addition.


Demonstrating flashes of being a functional forward in college, his 7’4 wingspan paired with his 9-foot reach established him as an appropriate fit to feature as a small ball center too.

However, since stretching the floor remains a necessary attribute to thrive in the modern NBA, he tends to reside in the paint due to his inconsistent stroke from beyond the arc. Further, his traits of included substandard free throw shooting, justified by career his numbers of 54% from the line. Having failed to enhance these aspects of his game in his three year prep career, it deteriorated his draft stock.

In addition, bad decisions on offense, incompetence as a facilitator from the low post and shortage of physical tools to finish explosively against longer defenders were alarming flaws in his game. Lacking awareness in Pick and Roll situations, he exhibited an inability to manufacture points.

As a defensive candidate, he had strides to make as a shot blocker. While possessing the length and build to consistently challenge shots at the rim, his lack of dynamism on the defensive end hindered him from doing so.

Moreover, incapacity to read switches and absent-mindedness substantiated his weaknesses as an off-ball defender. His absence from the draft combine due to a meniscus tear eventually saw him drop out of teams’ plans and enter the list undrafted prospects.


While there were abundance of shortcomings in his game, they remained correctable ones.

A strong work ethic meant that his game had undergone refinements in all domains with the exception of a reliable three point shot. Aforementioned frailties of being a poor help defender were masked by his solid post defense and potential to defend the 4 and 5 positions effectively. Inadequacy as a shooter from beyond the arc, his reliable mid-range game helped compensate for this downfall.

Moreover, having tirelessly worked on his craft around the rim, he’d exhibited a polished skill-set in the paint. A high-level offensive and an ever improving defensive rebounder, he’d built himself a reputation of being potent in accumulating boards, hence demonstrating his unique impact as small-ball center.

Defined physical build, enhanced face-up shooting, expertise in the jump hook and the ability to use either hand were attributes that vindicated his strengths as a post player.

Averaging 22.2 points and 9.6 rebounds in the G league followed by 19.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per 36 mins in NBA, he substantiated his ability on both ends of the floor. Grasping the pick and roll better under the guidance of Texas Legends’ Head Coach Bob MacKinnon, he exerts his influence in this field.


While possessing the prowess to generate high energy plays on a nightly basis, he could be an astute two-way acquisition for the Clippers. However, boasting three centers under guaranteed contracts makes him an unlikely feature in the 15 man roster. While finding minutes tough to come by currently, he could ameliorate his skills with the Agua Caliente Clippers and hope to prove his worth in the forthcoming years.


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