NBA Draft Prospects Guaranteed to Interest the LA Clippers

Oren FriedmanCorrespondent IIMay 21, 2013

NBA Draft Prospects Guaranteed to Interest the LA Clippers

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    With the 25th pick in the NBA draft, the Los Angeles Clippers should be interested in selecting either a defensive-minded big man or an elite and athletic wing. Although most high-profile rookies are lottery picks, there are plenty of solid players that have been taken at No. 25. 

    Nicolas Batum was taken No. 25 in the 2008 draft while Tony Wroten was grabbed in 2012. The Clippers would sorely benefit from a late steal that could become a serviceable rotation player. Someone like a wing along the lines of Chandler Parsons, the No. 38 pick in the 2011 draft, would be ideal. 

    The Clips have had a tremendous amount of success in the draft in recent years. Whether it was Eric Gordon with the No. 7 pick in 2008, or the draft-day trade that netted No. 18 pick Eric Bledsoe in 2010, the front office has made some savvy picks. Throw in the No. 1 overall no-brainer of Blake Griffin in 2009, and the Clips had an intriguing core of homegrown youth before they traded for Chris Paul. 

    Who will Clippers’ brass have its eye on come June? Who can contribute quickly to Lob City? 

    Let's take a look at five prospects that are guaranteed to interest Clippers’ management.

Archie Goodwin

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    School: Kentucky 

    Class: Freshman 

    Breakdown: There is plenty to like about Archie Goodwin as an athletic contributor. 

    The 6’5” shooting guard has a 6’10” wingspan, and consistently abused opponents with his athleticism. In his lone year at Kentucky, the guard hauled in 4.6 rebounds per game. 

    His 189-pound frame gives him an NBA body, but there are fundamental concerns with his game. Goodwin is incredibly raw, and will likely take some time to develop. 

    According to ClipperBlog, the guard shoots just 27 percent on jumpers. Presuming Chris Paul re-signs, Lob City will need a sharpshooter. Nevertheless, Goodwin could be a compelling prospect, and a nice addition on the perimeter.

Deshaun Thomas

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    School: Ohio State 

    Class: Junior

    Breakdown: Leading the Big Ten in scoring with 19.8 PPG, Thomas impressed for the Ohio State Buckeyes. The 6’7” combo forward is a bit of a tweener, however. 

    At 220 pounds, he might not be big enough to contain the most athletic power forwards, but can certainly blow by defenders with his speed and athleticism.

    His 5.9 RPG is a bit concerning. 

    Last season, the Clips got nothing from their wings on the glass. Lob City got a combined average of 7.5 RPG from Caron Butler and Matt Barnes. 

    Thomas is a bit hard to pin down in mock drafts. Draft Express has him going as high as No. 15, while NBADraft.net has him falling to No. 29.

    Thomas’ experience should also be intriguing. With three seasons under Thad Matta, Thomas could have the maturity that some other one-and-done picks lack.

Steven Adams

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    School: Pittsburgh 

    Class: Freshman

    Breakdown: Steven Adams is certainly a project, but could be a serviceable big man off the bench.

    At 7’2” and 255 pounds, Adams is huge and would provide some much-needed size against the West’s bigs. Lamar Odom and Ronny Turiaf looked awfully small against Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol this postseason. 

    Unfortunately, Adams’ freshman year numbers of 7.2 PPG and 6.3 RPG were underwhelming. The Clips might also shy away from drafting another big man project. The last one the Clips picked was DeAndre Jordan. Entering his sixth season, DJ is still developing. 

    Despite all of this, big men are hard to find, and Adams potential might appeal to Clippers’ brass.

Tim Hardaway Jr.

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    School: Michigan 

    Class: Junior

    Breakdown: The counterpart to Trey Burke on the runner-up national champion Michigan Wolverines, Tim Hardaway Jr. is a quick guard and an above-average defender.

    He has decent athleticism for a shooting guard and is known for his energy and hustle. Given the Clippers subpar tenacity on defense, Hardaway Jr. could be a nice change of pace off the bench.

    Scouts have to be concerned about his development in three years at Ann Arbor, however. Hardaway Jr. improved his scoring output by just 0.6 PPG from his freshman to his junior campaign, despite logging four more minutes per contest.

    His 37.4 percent clip from long range is certainly appealing, as are his playmaking skills.

Allen Crabbe

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    School: California 

    Class: Junior

    Breakdown: The reigning Pac-12 player of the year, Allen Crabbe really came into his own for the California Golden Bears this season. 

    Allen dropped 18.4 PPG this season, while hauling in 6.1 boards. He shoots an efficient 45.9 percent from the field, and 34.8 percent from downtown. 

    Crabbe also responds well to high-pressure situations.

    Following an infamous shove from head coach Mike Montgomery, Crabbe had to be cooled off by his teammates. Once he regained his composure, Crabbe scored ten points in the final five minutes and helped lead the Golden Bears to a 76-68 comeback win over USC.

    Crabbe is a liability on defense. He will certainly struggle staying in front of athletic wings. Nevertheless, Crabbe might be the best available player at No. 25, and could be a decent rotation player for the Clips.