Cultivating opinions on whom your team should take in the NBA draft is a lot of fun, but the dirty little secret is that most of us haven’t seen the leading candidates for the Clippers’ pick play ball beyond a couple of games in March. Nick Young is the obvious exception, because all of USC’s games are televised in the Los Angeles market. I saw a little of Acie Law against UCLA at the beginning of last season, then again in the tournament against Louisville and that amazing game against Memphis. All this is to say that I've seen the guy dish out exactly two career assists [he had one each in those two tournament games], plus whatever I saw in the UCLA game [I’d be lying if I said I remembered]. Be honest: How much Texas A & M basketball did you watch last winter? See? Much of this conversation is sheer bullshit [but fun bullshit].
Ideally, we’d love to see the Clippers draft Law and have him become the team’s starting PG. That’s an unreasonable expectation. I can’t think of one mid-first round PG in recent years who didn’t struggle in his first season – Jarrett Jack, Nate Robinson [who was a nice surprise, but certainly no magic bullet for the Knicks], Sebastian Telfair, Jameer Nelson, Marcus Banks, Luke Ridnour, Troy Bell, etc. It looks like Acie will go to the Atlanta Hawks at 11, which means the Clippers would have the unfortunate choice of Javaris Crittendon or Rodney Stuckey, neither of whom can run an NBA offense in his maiden voyage.
Can Sam start next year at PG? Maybe, but I don’t think the guy can play more than 1500 minutes in 2007-2008. Sam Cassell has had a fantastic career. So it’s with some contrition that I feel strongly the guy’s skills are diminishing a little bit each day. There’s no shame in that. It’s human. But it’s the way it is. Compounding this is the fact that the current trend of the game is moving away from Sam’s style of play. I suspect that the best the Clippers can hope for is Sam’s providing a nice spark off the bench, with an occasional spot start.
Where does that leave the Clippers at the point? Probably Jason Hart, Steve Blake, Chucky Atkins. In other words, pretty dispiriting.