The Los Angeles Clippers continue to fill roster gaps — both real and potential — as the regular season heads down the backstretch.
On Monday, the Clippers announced that they have signed 27-year-old Yogi Ferrell to a 10-day contract. He will be available for action Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
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The 6-foot point guard’s last NBA minutes came in January when he signed a 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Ferrell played in two games for the Cavs, averaging 9.5 points and 2.5 assists, before being waived on January 14.
The Salt Lake City Stars of the G League signed Ferrell at the end of January and he posted productive numbers in 14 games — 15.4 points on 45.1% shooting from the field and 38.8% from behind the arc, while leading the team in assists with 4.0 per game.
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Ferrell’s signing means that the Clippers will not offer a second 10-day contract to forward Malik Fitts, who was signed April 9 out of the G League but only saw 10 minutes of total floor time. While no player enjoys being demoted, Fitts at least had one memorable moment before his time expired: In a blowout victory over Minnesota on Sunday, Fitts hit his first NBA three-pointer, eliciting jubilation and praise from his Clipper teammates.
Ferrell is Backcourt Insurance
The Clippers hope Ferrell can add some depth to the backcourt, which is once again depleted with the absence of defensive stalwart Patrick Beverley.
Beverley, who has been plagued by right knee soreness all season, rejoined the Clippers lineup on April 6 after missing 12 straight games, but his return to full health was just a mere flirtation. Two days later, on April 8, Beverley fractured his right hand going for a rebound against the Phoenix Suns and is expected to be sidelined until at least the middle of May.
Though Reggie Jackson and recently acquired Rajon Rondo have been tremendous in Beverley’s absence (which is at 28 games and counting for the season) the Clippers signed Ferrell to make sure they were covered in case one of the other guys went out with an injury.
The health of Rondo, in particular, is somewhat of a concern given that he is 35-years-old and was briefly sidelined with a groin/adductor injury shortly after being traded for Lou Williams at the March 25 deadline.
Which is not say that Ferrell is a stranger to the NBA game or to exceeding the low expectations that usually accompany a 10-day contract.
Undrafted but Undaunted
Undrafted out of Indiana University in 2016, Ferrell was signed by the Brooklyn Nets in November of that same year and saw 15.1 minutes over 10 games to start the season.
But overall Ferrell played poorly in his time as a Net — averaging 5.4 points on 36.7% shooting overall and 29.6% from three, while contributing only 1.7 assists — and was waived in early December. In late January of 2017, he was signed to a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks and that’s when things got interesting.
In his first five games with Dallas, Ferrell averaged 17.2 points and five assists, while shooting 43.1% from the floor and 50.0% from long distance — all well above his numbers with Brooklyn. When Dallas signed Ferrell to a full contract on February 7, 2017, his stellar play continued, so much so that at the end of February he became only the second undrafted rookie to earn Rookie of the Month honors in his first season as a professional. (Tarence Kinsey of Memphis was the first to do so, in 2007.)
Not including his brief stint with Brooklyn, Ferrell finished his rookie campaign averaging 11.2 points, 4.3 assists and shooting better than 40% from the three.
Despite playing in all 82 games for Dallas the following season and shooting better from the field than his rookie year (42.6% vs 41.2%), Ferrell’s lagging assists and inconsistency from three kept Dallas from resigning him in the offseason. Ferrell instead signed a two-year, $5.9 million deal with Sacramento in July of 2018, but his numbers dropped precipitously with the Kings and he has failed so far to replicate his success from those early days in Dallas.
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