Clippers’ Derrick Walton Jr. making the most of his opportunity

first_img“Just being a part of something special,” Walton told Pink in response to her question. “We’re preparing for something big. But you try to take it a day at a time…”At that point, veteran forward Moe Harkless interrupted, draping a towel over Walton’s head and giving the guard an affectionate noogie — which did not derail Walton’s train of thought: “… and know we got an end goal and just try to build blocks to make sure, at the end of the day, we’re most prepared for what we’re trying to get accomplished.”Before Walton was called up from Ontario to join the L.A. Clippers on Dec. 1, Walton was preparing for his current opportunity by stuffing stat sheets in the G League, with 13.4 points, 7.2 assists 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals in his five games with Agua Caliente.Now, in 17 contests with L.A., he’s shooting an 55.6 percent from the field, 47.1 percent from 3-point range and is one of six regular Clippers with a positive — plus 1.2 — net plus-minus (the net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possessions).Just before this season began, Walton offered a hint of what he believed he could contribute.“I feel like I’m always silently confident,” he said. “Everything about this situation is about fitting and opportunities.”PISTONS AT CLIPPERSWhen: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.Where: Staples Center, Los AngelesTV: Fox Sports Prime Ticket Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error No Patrick Beverley. No Lou Williams. No Terance Mann.Yes, Derrick Walton Jr.The 6-foot point guard from Michigan — via the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Lithuanian club Zalgiris Kaunas and Germany’s Alba Berlin — finished 2019 by further ingratiating himself with Clippers’ fandom and his teammates alike.Walton, 24, chalked up a career-high 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting to buoy the short-handed Clippers on Tuesday in a convincing 105-87 victory over the Sacramento Kings.center_img “Yessssir boyyy hooping,” tweeted Beverley, who missed the first of what’s expected to be a few games with a sprained right wrist.Walton was, indeed, hooping: He curled comfortably around a Montrezl Harrell screen and sank a jumper; he buried a wide-open rainbow 3-pointer from the top of the arc; he buried another in a defender’s face; he recovered after being blocked by Bogdan Bogdanovic by popping up for another two points from the elbow — and looked exceedingly comfortable all the while.“He’s just solid, he knows he can score, he knows he can shoot the ball,” coach Doc Rivers told reporters in Sacramento who asked about Walton, who once scored 41 points in a G League game for the Sioux Falls Skyforce.“It’s like the league doesn’t know he can do that so they’re going to keep leaving him open. He’s not going to hesitate.”Walton isn’t the flinching type. During his televised postgame interview with Fox Sports’ Kristina Pink, he answered a question about what he’s looking forward to in the new year — which tips off for the Clippers (24-11) on Thursday against the 12-22 Detroit Pistons (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Prime Ticket) and former Clippers star Blake Griffin, who’s been nursing a sore knee.last_img read more