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 fourth installment:
C Mike Muscala (Bucknell), 6-foot-11, 230 pounds
Muscala will be the second Patriot League player drafted Thursday night (following projected top-10 pick C.J. McCollum out of Lehigh). Muscala, who is expected to hear his name called at some point in the late first round or early second round, improved in each of his four years at Bucknell. His post moves are strong going to both his right and his left and he consistently plays hard on both ends of the floor. That’s one of the reasons that Muscala’s stock has jumped this year as it has; he has a particularly impressive motor for someone who looks like he’s just an oafy big man. Defensively, that motor translates. He maintains his focus well and has a good basketball IQ, but he’s not overwhelmingly athletic and could struggle defending players who are better athletes than him.
PG Isaiah Canaan (Murray State), 6-feet, 188 pounds
Canaan has been one of the more exciting and likable players in the NCAA over the past two years, leading the Murray State offense and becoming a prolific scorer in the process. He has always been a dominant shooter and he has range for miles, but over the past couple of seasons, Canaan has learned best how to take over games. In that time span, he has accumulated 35 games in which he’s made three-or-more shots from long range and 14 games in which he’s hit five-or-more threes in a contest. The kid can score, but he’s undersized and doesn’t possess a ton of athleticism. Because of that he might struggle both going to the hoop, where he isn’t a consistent finisher at the rim, and on the defensive side of the ball.
PG Erick Green (Virginia Tech), 6-foot-3, 178 pounds
Green is only a few months removed from leading the ACC in scoring at a 25.0 point-per-game clip. Green amended his game as a senior and started going to the rim far more often than he had in the past. He had always been a good scorer, someone who could get Virginia Tech its points when it needed them, but his shots were somewhat inefficient. As a junior, he was a jump shooter that got to the line just under four times a game. But as a senior, Green started going to the charity stripe far more often. That helped his efficiency all around and all of his shooting and scoring numbers saw an improvement. Green is expected to be picked around the Clippers’ range, somewhere late in the first or early in the second round.
PG Myck Kabongo (Texas), 6-foot-3, 180 pounds
The NBA will get a little more Canadian with the entrance of Kabongo, a Toronto native. Kabongo is a super athletic point guard who has plenty of upside, but hasn’t shown that he is quite near his ceiling just yet. He came to Texas as one of the top-rated recruits in the country, but had an underwhelming freshman season in Austin. We didn’t get to see much of Kabongo this past season, his sophomore year, as the point guard played in only 11 games all season. He is a pretty strong defensive player that plays a high-risk, high-reward style and is a well above-average rebounder for a point guard. But Kabongo still has an inconsistent jump shot and he hasn’t fully grasped how to run an offense. He’s a good enough athlete that he could be one of those second-round guys that sticks in the league, but he’ll have to improve on some of those flaws first.
PG Mark Lyons (Arizona), 6-foot-1, 195 pounds
Lyons is a scorer at heart. He’s someone who will always be confident enough to take both the first and the last shot of the game. And if you let him, he’ll probably take every shot between as well. He is a decent shooter with good range and he can score in bunches when he gets hot. Like a bunch of score-first, college point guards, he isn’t the best defensive player in the world, but he’s a pretty good scorer and if he goes undrafted look to see if the Clippers try to sign him.
PG Nate Wolters (South Dakota State), 6-foot-5, 196 pounds
Wolters is a big point guard that was a scoring machine in college, averaging 22.3 points per game in his senior season at South Dakota State. He is both a solid shooter and finisher and has a size advantage over most point guards that guard him on a regular basis. He’s actually a decent defender in the half court. Guys who are remarkably athletic might get away from him, but he holds his own well against players who wouldn’t be thrown into the category of “upper-echelon athlete”. Even though Wolters is 6-foot-5, he probably would be limited to guarding just point guards with a wingspan of just under 6-foot-4.
PG Ray McCallum (Detroit Mercy), 6-foot-2, 191 pounds
It’s pretty easy to score a top-40 recruit when that top-40 recruit is your son. Well, that’s exactly what happened for Ray McCallum Sr. when his son decided to go play for him at Detroit Mercy a few years ago. McCallum is a smart point guard that has improved as a shooter since arriving in college, but his game isn’t all the way there yet. He still doesn’t hit a high percentage of his three-point shots (29.0 percent for his collegiate career) and his midrange game is, in some ways, also still developing. It would be tough for him to land with the Clippers considering he is projected to go somewhere in the middle of the second round.
SG Brandon Paul (Illinois), 6-foot-4, 201 pounds
Paul is a long, athletic shooting guard known best for his scoring at Illinois. The Illini’s leading scorer this past season averaged 16.6 points per game, but he wasn’t particularly efficient in doing so (40.1 percent on field goals, 32.5 percent on threes). He is essentially a glorified three-point specialist that likes to camp out in the corner and take his fair share of long-range bombs, although as a senior he had to create more than he would’ve liked to on a depleted Illinois team. Paul could be described as a heat-check guy and when he gets hot, it’s hard to stop him. The best example of that probably came when he dropped 35 in an upset of Gonzaga this past season. He is remarkably long, sporting a 6-foot-10 wingspan, but he doesn’t always use his length to his advantage on the defensive end.