The 2015 NBA Draft starts at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) at the Barclays Center! Only one team does not have a draft pick on the morning of the draft …
The Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers would have had the 28th pick in the first round of this year’s draft. The Clippers have head coach (and now President of Basketball Operations) Doc Rivers instead, so the Boston Celtics have the 28th pick now. Notable 28th overall picks include Leandro Barbosa (2003, Spurs, traded to Suns) and Tony Parker (2001, Spurs). Last year’s 28th overall draft pick? Clippers SG C.J. Wilcox.
The Clippers would have also had the 57th pick in the second round of this year’s draft. In January 2009, the Clippers made a trade to acquire C Cheikh Samb from the Denver Nuggets. Maybe you forgot about Samb, so here’s a reminder:
Samb played 51 minutes for the Clippers before the club released him in February 2009. As a result of that trade, the Nuggets have the 2nd round pick of the Clippers. Notable 57th overall picks include Marcin Gortat (2005, Suns, traded to Magic) and Manu Ginobili (1999, Spurs). The last player selected 57th overall to make an appearance in the NBA was Ryan Reid, who was selected by the Pacers in 2010 and traded to the Thunder on draft night. Reid played 17 minutes for the Thunder in 2011-2012.
The Clippers/Braves franchise has made at least one draft pick every year since 1970, when the franchise started in Buffalo. It has been known for some time now that the Clippers would like to acquire a pick somehow, despite the limited assets available:
The Clippers do NOT have a pick in this draft but they are looking to acquire one along the way – not sure what range they’d target
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) May 24, 2015
Now, I released an offseason report covering the entire league this week. Here’s what I said for the Clippers:
Los Angeles Clippers (No picks): The Clippers are the only team in the league right now without a draft pick – their 1st round pick went to Boston for the right to sign head coach Doc Rivers. If the Clippers get a pick, they have a glaring hole in their starting lineup where SF Matt Barnes used to be. The Clippers sold high on Barnes and managed to dump PF Spencer Hawes’ contract on Charlotte in exchange for SG Lance Stephenson. Barnes led the Clippers in fouls per game with a career-high 3.2, and the Clippers have needed an upgrade at SF since Corey Maggette was averaging 22 points a game in 2007-2008. The Clippers don’t need a go-to scorer at SF as much as they need a versatile player who can defend well enough without fouling. Of course, the Clippers need to also re-sign unrestricted FA C DeAndre Jordan.
I do have a short list of prospects that the Clippers could consider, so let me present that now:
– SF Justin Anderson, Virginia: There’s no reason this guy should slip out of the first round. He’s 6’6″, 230 pounds, with a wingspan of nearly seven feet and a crazy vertical. But if he slips, the Clippers need to see how much it’ll take to get him. He has the potential to defend right away.
– PG T.J. McConnell, Arizona: This isn’t an upside pick, and it’s not one that you take outside the 50s. McConnell might actually be available as a priority free agent. But the Clippers have skipped out on a bench PG quite often in recent years, and McConnell looks like a player who could stick around, run an offense, and defend in a pinch.
– PF Bobby Portis, Arkansas: Besides Stanley Johnson, Portis is my favorite player in the draft. He’s just … so long. And he’s still growing?! What am I missing here? He reminds me of what I imagine a less athletic Kevin Garnett would have looked like in college. There’s no way the Clippers get in the 20-range, but tell me why he couldn’t contribute as the first big off the bench early.
… But alas, the Clippers have no picks. And even if they get a pick, you’ve seen what happens to Clippers rookies since the team got Chris Paul in 2011. So we’ll see what goes down tonight.