The Draft is almost upon us and that means studying up on all the amateurs you haven’t been paying attention to for years. But ClipperBlog is here to help. Leading up to Thursday’s Draft, we will be looking at the group of draftees that have worked out for the Clippers (in no particular order). Here is the first installment:
SG Tim Hardaway Jr. (Michigan), 6-foot-6, 199 pounds
Hardaway spent his three-year Michigan career working as a sidekick for some prolific point guards. He has improved his shooting vastly from his sophomore-year slump (when he shot only 28.3 percent from three) and has become a reliable, volume shooter from the perimeter (37.4 percent from three on 5.1 attempts per game this past season). Hardaway isn’t necessarily a guy who needs volume in order to score – even though that was the role that he filled in college. He is an above-average perimeter defender with good athleticism, a 6-foot-7 wingspan, a 37.5-inch max vertical and he might be able to guard certain small forwards as well as shooting guards. His future in the league will probably come as a D & three type of contributor.
SF Tony Snell (New Mexico), 6-foot-7, 198 pounds
Snell broke out a couple of years ago as a sophomore at New Mexico and was one of the leading players on a 3-seed Lobo squad. Like Hardaway, Snell is a solid defensive player. With a 6-foot-11.5 wingspan, he only needs to add a little bulk to his frame to guard wing players at the NBA level. But there is one major question about him moving to the next level: Does he have the motor to succeed? He tended to vanish from games at times throughout the season.
SF Reggie Bullock (North Carolina), 6-foot-7, 200 pounds
Bullock ended the college season as someone who had the opportunity to fight for a spot in the first round. Well, he’s fought well. After cementing himself as someone who will be taken with one of the top 30 picks, Bullock awaits his future. He was one of the best spot-up shooters in college this past season and he projects to continue that role into the pros. According to DraftExpress.com, he averaged a superb 1.29 points per shot on catch-and-shoot jumpers this past season. With decent athleticism and a 6-foot-9 wingspan, he should be able to find a spot to stick as long as he keeps knocking down shots.
SG Ricky Ledo (Providence), 6-foot-6, 197 pounds
Ledo is one of the more fascinating prospects of the draft quite simply because we know so little about him. He was ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the high school class of 2012 by Rivals.com, but was never eligible to play at Providence. That makes it so much harder to rate a guy like Ledo, a combo guard that is either a big point guard or a regularly sized shooting guard. Defensively is where he will have to do the most work. Without any experience guarding the elite, there is reason to be worried about his prowess on that end of the floor.
PG/SG Brandon Triche (Syracuse), 6-foot-4, 215 pounds
One would have to imagine that the Clippers worked out Triche to anticipate signing him as an undrafted free agent. With only the 25th overall pick and without a history of buying or trading for second-round picks on draft day, the Clips probably aren’t in a position to draft the former Syracuse guard. Triche was a good collegiate player with solid range (even though he shot under 30 percent from three), but what coaches love is his intelligence on the court. Remember when the Clippers signed Maalik Wayns? That’s the type of role that Triche could potentially fill: a hyper intellectual, hard working, former Big East guard that mostly hangs out on the Clipper bench.
PG Lorenzo Brown (North Carolina State), 6-foot-5, 189 pounds
Brown brings you both the good and the bad. Standing at 6-foot-5, he’s tremendously tall for a point guard and would be one of the tallest 1s in the league upon his arrival into the NBA. That size allows him to see over the top of defenses relatively well and helps make him an above-average passer. But Brown didn’t make any steps forward as a junior in Raleigh. His shooting is suspect and his decision making deserves to be questioned. Would he be able to run an offense in the NBA even for a few minutes every game? That’s a question that warrants being asked.
SF James Ennis (Long Beach State), 6-foot-7, 206 pounds
Ennis is the type of projected second-round pick that could end up sticking in the league a lot longer than people think. As NBA rosters shift more and more away from filling out positions and more and more to slotting players into roles, Ennis gets that much more valuable. Similarly to Hardaway or Bullock, there’s certainly a decent chance that he could succeed for a while as a D & three guy. The former junior college transfer has been one of the better perimeter defenders in the country over his two seasons at LBSU, averaging 1.8 steals per game and posting a 4.2 percent block rate as a wing player. He has a juicy wingspan – yes, juicy – that measures in at just a half an inch under 7-feet and the kid always seems to be in the right place on the court. Watch out for someone to take a second-round gamble on him at some point Thursday night.
C Jeff Withey (Kansas), 7-feet, 222 pounds
Jeff Withey is Cole Aldrich. Or is Cole Aldrich supposed to be Jeff Withey? I always forget. Either way, you probably know what you’re going to get from Withey: some rim protection and some dunks. He was a dominant shot blocker at the collegiate level, but it’s reasonable to say that the Kansas connection should worry teams. Take a deep breath and then read off the list of the bigs that have come out of Kansas since 2006: Wayne Simien, Julian Wright, Darnell Jackson, Darrell Arthur, Cole Aldrich, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, and Thomas Robinson. That’s seven big men and only one of them (Arthur) has actually lived up to his draft position, though it’s still too early to judge Robinson properly. It’s hard to say exactly what they means, but it means something.