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 third installment:
C Alex Oriakhi (Missouri), 6-foot-9, 258 pounds
Oriakhi is stuck with a center’s game in a power forward’s body. He was one of the best rebounders in the country last season, posting an 18.0 percent rebounding rate and a 14.1 percent offensive rebounding rate. He’s long (7-foot-4 wingspan) and aggressive on the defensive end, which allows him to defend the rim better than most NCAA centers. But the former Missouri center is undersized and doesn’t have much game away from the rim on either side of the court. He is someone the Clippers might consider putting on their Summer League roster, but a pick at No. 25 definitely wouldn’t happen.
PF Kwame Alexander (Cal State San Bernardino), 6-foot-7, 240 pounds
Alexander is totally off the map when you talk about prospects. The D-II standout is an athletic specimen and is a local dunking hero in Los Angeles, but the NBA ability probably ends right about there. Alexander is a great rebounder and a good energy guy, but when an undersized, D-II power forward possesses only those traits, it means he probably won’t hear his name called at the draft. That said, the kid can dunk.
PG Matthew Dellavedova (St. Mary’s), 6-foot-4, 205 pounds
Dellavedova has been one of the more overlooked NCAA points guards in the nation over the past four years. Part of that has to do with the fact that he played his college ball at St. Mary’s – actually all of it has to do with him playing at St. Mary’s, because the kid was a big time collegiate point guard. He has a nice mix of shooting ability and passing savvy. He’s a smart guard that is surely intellectually capable of running a team, but what plagues Dellavedova is his defense. He struggles to stay in front of ball handlers and isn’t particularly long or quick on that end of the floor.
SG Rodney McGruder (Kansas State), 6-foot-5, 201 pounds
McGruder has a chance to be drafted Thursday night, but in all likelihood, it won’t be in the first round. The former Kansas State standout got off to a slow start to his senior season, shooting only 21.6 percent from three in his first 12 games of the year. But then, as Rodney McGruder does, he caught fire. He made 18 of 38 threes (47.3 percent) over his next five games and shot 37.4 percent for the remainder of the season. He is a sharpshooter that actually isn’t a horrible defender. He’s not particularly long or quick, but he’s a high-IQ competitor that could be able to knock down some threes for a team that needs someone in that role.
SF James Southerland (Syracuse), 6-foot-8, 221 pounds
As good of a shooter as McGruder is, Southerland is better. The Syracuse senior made 2.5 three-point shots per game this past season and routinely caught fire in games throughout the year. He has unlimited range and was spotting up from 10 feet behind the three-point line at least once a game near the end of the season. At 6-foot-8, he has a high release and is eerily accurate when he’s hot, evidenced by his 18 games with at least three long-range makes or his back-to-back six-3PM games in the Big East Tournament as a senior. He’s a pretty good athlete and has a 7-foot-1 wingspan, but defense will always be a question mark for an alum of the Syracuse 2-3 zone. Either way, if Steve Novak can lock down a 4-year, $15 million contract, then Southerland should at least be able to shoot his way onto some NBA roster.
PG Elijah Johnson (Kansas), 6-foot-3, 194 pounds
Brooklyn Nets fans can tell you exactly what Elijah Johnson will be because they just spent 38 games watching Tyshawn Taylor’s dubious decision making. But while Taylor spent his fourth year in Lawrence actually improving his shot selection, passing, and shooting, Johnson did the opposite. Johnson regressed pretty heavily after taking over the offense amidst Taylor’s departure. He isn’t a great shooter, he consistently throws up contested shots that are destined for a clank, and he turns the ball over all too often. His 11.8 PER as a senior ranked him second-to-last of anyone in KU’s rotation. Please don’t put a senior with an 11.8 PER in the NBA. Please.
SG B.J. Young (Arkansas), 6-foot-3, 179 pounds
Young’s best-case and worst-case scenario on DraftExpress.com couldn’t be more appropriate for someone the Clippers have worked out. Best case: Eric Bledsoe. Worst case: Willie Warren. The Bledsoe look comes from Young’s figure, stocky with long arms that reach out for a 6-foot-8 wingspan. He’s a strong on-ball defender, but he often loses focus on the court. His zone outs happen all too often and because of that, he gets caught letting players stray too far away from him when he’s guarding off the ball. Like Willie Warren, Young’s stock peaked as a freshman. Following a let-down sophomore year, in which he shot only 22.7 percent from three after shooting 41.3 percent as a freshman, he will probably hear his name called somewhere late in the second round.
C Colton Iverson (Colorado State), 7-feet, 263 pounds
Iverson is a massive force down low that could turn himself into a rebounding specialist in the NBA. He was a solid scorer at Colorado State, but most of that had to do with his size, playing against players that couldn’t really hang with him down low. In the NBA, he might not be able to get away with the post moves that he found so effective in college, but as a second-round pick, some organization will take a flier on a massive kid that had a 19.5 percent rebounding rate last season.