The LA Clippers' preseason slate is nearing its end, as the team will play its final exhibition on Thursday night in a meeting with the Utah Jazz.
In terms of wins and losses, the Clippers have had an unsuccessful preseason campaign thus far. LA dropped both of its first two contests against the Los Angeles Lakers, and neither were particularly close.
But these games are more about figuring out the team's identity than they are about winning — something that's been especially true for the Clippers as the franchise navigates a coaching change amid a particularly short offseason.
Thursday's contest offers the Clippers another opportunity to grow together and further establish their identity ahead of all-important meetings with the Lakers and Denver Nuggets next week. With that said, here a few things to keep an eye on tonight.
On Monday afternoon, the Clippers announced that Jordan Ford, Malik Fitts and Ky Bowman had all been waived. That left Rayjon Tucker as the lone camp invite to remain with the team.
It was a bit of a surprising decision — Bowman seemed like the most obvious choice to remain on the roster, given his is a position of need — but LA must be pleased with what Tucker has done so far.
Assuming Tucker checks into tonight's game, he'll have a lot on the line. Not only is this his final chance to show the Clippers why he deserves a spot on the roster, but he'll have the opportunity to do so against his former team.
Tucker appeared in 20 games for the Jazz in 2019-20, posting averages of 3.1 points and 1.0 rebounds in 8.1 minutes per contest. His best two performances came in the bubble when he tallied 35 combined points against the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs.
Look for Tucker to earn most of his minutes on Thursday night in the second half.
More Nic Batum Minutes
Former Charlotte Hornets wing Nic Batum started in place of Marcus Morris Sr. in each of LA's first two preseason games, and that probably won't be changing soon.
During Wednesday's media session, Tyronn Lue told reporters that Batum would be the starter for the foreseeable future as Morris Sr. works his way back from injury. As it stands, there's no timetable for his return.
Lue said he feels comfortable with Batum starting and cited his two-way versatility and experience in the league as reasons why he's earned the role for the time being.
There's no telling if Morris Sr.'s absence will extend into the regular season, but the Clippers must get Batum going with him on the sidelines.
The Lou - Zu Connection
One of the things that makes Lou Williams such a potent player on offense is his ability to run the pick-and-roll. He had a perfect partner in Montrezl Harrell for the last few seasons, but now that he's left for the Lakers, Williams needs to begin building chemistry with Ivica Zubac.
Zu isn't as explosive or aggressive in the paint as Harrell, but he's just as talented a screen-setter and rim-runner. He's an efficient finisher as well, but he's struggled to handle the ball inside in his two preseason appearances.
The potential is there for Williams and Zubac to form an effective partnership, but it'll take time to develop the chemistry and understanding necessary to run it as efficiently as Williams did with Harrell.
Look for the two to continue working together when the Clippers take on the Jazz tonight at 7:00 p.m. PT.