Las Vegas has long served as an ideal stop for truckers and travelers making the long journey from northern Utah to Southern California.
Brandon Davies is hoping his time in Sin City helps turn his journey to Los Angeles into a lengthy stay.
The former Brigham Young forward played five games for the Clippers in the NBA Summer League this week and feels he performed well. Davies will now return home to pack up and move to LA in an effort to make the roster in his first year out of college.
“I think I did pretty good this week. I just got better every day, every game, and that’s all I needed to do. I took it as a learning experience, and I’ve taken a lot from this. I just feel like I took advantage of the opportunity,” said Davies, who averaged 5.8 points and 4.0 rebounds per game as the Clippers finished 1-4.
“I just wanted to make sure my energy was up and not take any possessions off. That’s one thing that’s going to help me is if I can show I’m willing to compete with a high energy level at both ends of the floor. I thought I was able to do a good job of showing that.”
One particular stretch of Friday’s 91-80 loss to the Knicks highlighted not only that desire, but also the work Davies has put in to his jump shot.
He knocked down a 3-pointer, then hustled back to get a steal. Then, he jumped over the broadcast table and into the stands to save the ball, setting up two free throws for a teammate.
It was a spotlight game for Davies, who had been playing about 12 minutes per game before starting and registering 28 minutes Friday. He had 14 points, six rebounds and three steals in the loss.
“I loved his performance. He plays hard every possession. He does the right things on both ends of the floor. He got a chance to play a lot more tonight to see what he can do,” Clippers summer league coach Tyronn Lue said. “His effort and the way he makes plays is unbelievable. He did a great job for us.”
Those are the kinds of things undrafted rookie free agents must do to make an NBA roster. Davies does have the benefit of having signed a partially guaranteed contract, which means he is at least likely to get a long look in training camp.
The Clippers do have at least one opening on the roster for a frontcourt player, and the 6-foot-9-inch Davies hopes to be in the mix. Being able to choose where he may have the best opportunity was one of the things that took the sting out of not hearing his name called on draft night after a solid collegiate career.
“I feel like it’s a great situation,” Davies said. “I have a great agent who did a really good job getting me into the best possible situation for me. Hopefully, if I keep doing everything that I can control, everything will start falling into place for me. I think my prospects (of making the roster) are pretty good. I did everything I thought I needed to do. They understand this is all new to me. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I did nothing but help myself.”
As right as the fit may have been for Davies rosterwise, Los Angeles seems like a completely different world from Provo, Utah, where he has lived his entire life.
Hollywood is farther away from Provo than even the mileage would indicate. Those who have been to both places might have a hard time believing they are on the same planet.
Davies said he is ready for the transition.
“Yeah, I’m probably more low-key, but I’ve already met some great people down there,” he said. “The veterans that are there have made time with me and been willing to help me out with whatever I need. The Clippers are just a great family organization, so I’m really confident and excited to get down there.”
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.