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Clippers’ Brandon Boston in position for breakout Year 2

Brandon Boston, Los Angeles Clippers 2

LAS VEGAS.- While the NBA’s stars have no issue taking their place center stage, much of the league’s success stories come down to opportunities. Los Angeles Clippers guard Brandon Boston was presented with a number of opportunities last season, and he had no issue taking advantage of those presented to him.

Now, the second-year guard from Kentucky is looking to continue making a name for himself on arguably the deepest roster in the league. For Boston, it started with Summer League.

“It’s been fun,” Brandon Boston told ClutchPoints in an exclusive interview. “Just getting out here and competing, been working my ass off this summer. Just feels good. I love to compete, I love this game, so I’m gonna keep going at it every chance I get.”

As the Clippers do with all their players heading into the offseason, Brandon Boston was issued a laundry list of sorts — things to focus on during offseason by the front office and coaching staff.

“Really just getting stronger a lot. I’ve been hitting the weight room a lot. Been eating a lot cleaner. Sharpening my mental. Also my decision-making on the court. I can score, everyone knows that. But making the right plays at the right time.”

Heading into the summer tournament, Boston was up 10 pounds from his rookie year, up from 188 to 198. He accomplished that by cutting out red meats and dairy while eating cleaner and more often throughout the day. Hitting the weight room helped some as well, as Boston has noticeably bulked up from when he was last seen in April.

“I feel more springier, I feel lighter, I’m not as heavy.”

Boston, the most experienced player on the roster with 760 NBA minutes, was tasked with leading the Clippers’ summer squad. He averaged 13.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists across five games while shooting just 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 32.0 percent from beyond the arc.

Consistency is something all Summer League teams grapple with, and it’s something Boston had to learn to bounce back from.

“These games, they teach you about life,” Brandon Boston explained. “Just going through those obstacles, some games it’s gonna be your game, some nights it’s not. So you just gotta get up and do it again.”

“[The vets taught me to] always keep the main thing the main thing. There’s a lot of distractions out here. But just always put the work before anything. As long as you put in the work, taking care of yourself, everything is going to fall in place where it needs to.”

Given that he’s still only 20 years old, distractions shouldn’t have been too much of an issue for Boston in Las Vegas. He was in the gym as much as he could be, and if he wasn’t doing that, he was sleeping.

“You gotta be disciplined if you want it. And for what I want, you gotta stay disciplined.”

Brandon’s father, Brandon Boston Sr., got him started in basketball at the age of four. Living in Norcross, Georgia, Boston was thrust into his basement, practicing the figure-eight drill using mechanic/gardening gloves. Once he learned to dribble and developed a handle, the rest followed suit.

And yet, despite all the work put into basketball, there was a chance Boston would’ve considered going pro in an entirely different sport.

Brandon Boston also developed a love for football playing at Norcross High School, the program notable for producing five-time Saints Pro Bowler Alvin Kamara. Playing quarterback, Boston fully believed he was headed to the NFL.

“I was actually cold at football. I was quarterback. I thought I was going to the NFL before the NBA.

Eventually football came to an end, and it wasn’t a lack of talent or an injury that held Boston back.

“I had a big growth spurt from 5’10 to 6’4 in my eighth-grade year when I was 14 or 15. So that right there, my dad said, ‘Nah, we’re gonna stick to the court.’ Can’t have them big dudes hitting my legs. I need these.”

That’s when Brandon became a full-time basketball player. That included a move to Southern California to play at Sierra Canyon High School. The transition from part-time football, part-time basketball player was easy for Boston.

“It wasn’t tough because I always loved basketball. I was the only one in the neighborhood with a hoop, so the whole neighborhood would come in and hoop with us. So basketball was just always there. It was crazy. It’s always fun competing and playing against the older dudes. That’s really what got me tough growing up.”

Busting other people’s chops became a regular thing for Boston growing up.

“They knew it. Everybody knew it.”

At Sierra Canyon, Brandon Boston averaged 19.7 points his senior year and ducked off to the University of Kentucky, where he was expected to be a surefire NBA lottery pick before his freshman year. That’s when he suffered his first setback.

In August 2020, Brandon Boston suffered a broken index finger on his shooting hand. He underwent surgery, had pins in his finger, and wore a cast for two months.

“I never told nobody this ever, but I broke my shooting finger, my index finger, right before the season started and I just kept it under wraps and I just had to wear a big cast, had to get surgery, all that stuff … I had pins in it and all that. I couldn’t sweat the first month and then the second month I had to use my left hand just to work out.”

Boston returned in time for Kentucky’s first game and went on to play the entire season. He averaged just 11.6 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 35.5 percent from the field and 30.0 percent from 3-point range in over 30 minutes per game. Despite being cleared to play, Boston believes he came back earlier than he should have. That affected his performance and, in turn, his draft odds.

“I don’t think I was ready, but I was just like, ‘Let’s do it.’ I love to compete and I feel like just getting those game reps, that’s really what was gonna help me along the way.”

Brandon Boston went from a projected lottery pick with the likes of Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, and Scottie Barnes to the 51st overall pick in the NBA Draft.

“Definitely [think it impacted my draft status]. Most definitely, because if you can’t shoot the ball, you’re gonna fall. But I just kept persevering, working hard at it, and believing in myself and I know what I can do, so that’s why I’m here today.”

Falling in the NBA Draft didn’t deter Boston. All Boston wanted was a chance to prove himself, and now he’s gotten it.

“My agents told me no expectations. Me personally, I had a mindset of I just needed to get my foot in the door and I could take it from there.”

Boston played sporadically throughout his rookie season with the Clippers, going from the pros to the G League depending on the team’s injury woes.

His biggest game, ironically, came against the Boston Celtics on Dec. 8. With Paul George and Serge Ibaka out, Brandon Boston came off the bench to score a career-high 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field and 5-of-8 from 3. He also had four big steals as the Clippers narrowly defeated the eventual Eastern Conference champions.

Boston’s issues were never on the offensive side of the basketball, but his defense gradually improved as the season went on.

“He’s a competitor on that side of the floor,” head coach Tyronn Lue said of Boston. “Just defensively, learning the foundation, our defensive foundation, which he’s pretty smart and picks it up, but he competes. Whether he’s a stopper or not, he competes on that side of the ball, so that’s half the battle. If you’re gonna play hard and compete as hard as you can on the defensive end, things are gonna work out for you and that’s what he did tonight.”

With his second season just a week away from officially kicking off, Brandon Boston is ready to get things going. He has gotten his mentality right, his body exactly where he wants it to be, and will join a team with championship-or-bust aspirations.

While his path towards playing time may appear problematic on paper, Boston believes in the path he’s on.

“I feel like everybody’s their own individual person,” Boston said.”I just need to bring what I know I can bring to the table. That’s all I can do.”

Is that easier said than done?

“It’s not easier said than done. You’ve just gotta have the mindset and the right approach to it. It’s me, going in there, getting my work in, being a sponge, looking up to the vets, asking questions to the vets, that’s all I can do.”

Just as they appeared in his rookie season, Boston will have plenty of opportunities to play this season. The Clippers will be extremely cautious with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, while guys like Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris, Reggie Jackson, and John Wall will also be managed throughout the season. The full year of experience under his belt and 10 pounds added in muscle will only help.

With the backing of his family and the Clippers organization, Brandon Boston is in prime position to make a name for himself in Year 2.

“Brandon’s coming,” Tyronn Lue said. “He’s gonna be special.”