What Should the Los Angeles Clippers Do with Their First Draft Pick?
What a way for me to start my first article—by starting with the Clippers! No way am I a Clippers fan and no way am I a fan of Dunleavy's GM skills! But one has to be intrigued with how the Clippers will deal with the luck of getting the number one draft pick.
While the Clippers have already said that they will select Oklahoma star Blake Griffin—they didn't say they will keep him. With rumors swirling that Griffin's hometown team are offering a combination of the third overall draft pick and Jeff Green, the Clippers have found a VERY willing trade partner. Why? Let me count the reasons:
Why the OKC Thunder would want to deal
1) Griffin came from Oklahoma and as such would greatly increase their fan base.
2) Griffin when combined with Durant would give them a formidable inside-out one-two punch.
3) Under Sam Presti the Thunder have developed a humble team-oriented culture. We might see another Spurs pattern of developing a team the way Portland has done. So much so that that Joe Smith had second-thoughts of moving to the Cavs before.
Why the LA Clippers would want to deal
1) They have a loaded front court in Kaman, Camby, and Randolph. Keeping this roster as is would hinder Griffin's minutes and his growth. Randolph is be the most likely player to be shipped based on the positon conflict at PF and also because of behavioral issues.
2) The Clippers have several long term contracts that need to be shipped. Randolph and B. Davis are certainly not good role-models for the young Blake Griffin to be associated with.
3) IF they'll trade the first pick they can revamp their team in a big and fast way while also getting good young players to add to Gordon, Thornton and Jordan. The third pick could either be Thabeet or Rubio based on the mock drafts.
The biggest reason why this two teams are the best trade partners are because the Thunder have showed they are willing to spend their salary cap to improve their team. See Tyson Chandler.
And the biggest reason why the Clippers shouldn't trade Blake Griffin is because they'll alienate their fans even more. Unless of course they can immediately get back to the playoffs and rationalize their decision.
I doubt that the proposed OKC-LAC trade would get done though unless they'd find a third team.
Having Griffin and Randolph and Griffin just won't work. The best thing would be to take Blake Griffin with the first pick and see all the offers from the other teams. I think the Maloofs of Sacramento be interested and so will be the Trailblazers as long as Randolph isn't included.
So how will the Clippers decision-making go? Hopefully not anything close to how their history has gone. As one GM said, the best trades are the ones not taken.
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