With or without a 2014 NBA draft selection that yields a contributor or even a budding star, Los Angeles will find itself back in the mix for Western Conference supremacy in 2014-15.
With one pick at slot No. 28, Los Angeles can afford the luxury of selecting the best player available. Given the fact that this class is being touted as one of the strongest in recent memory, that bodes well for a team in such a position.
Here's a snapshot of how the Clippers fared in some recent mock drafts:
|Draft Express||Jordan Clarkson||PG/SG||Missouri|
|NBADraft.net||Jusuf Nurkic||C||Bosnia & Herzegovina|
|Sports Illustrated||Jerami Grant||F||Syracuse|
* No. 28 in Top 100 (subscription required)
Of course, these are all just guesses, but because there's no real pattern, it's fair to glean that most agree the Clips can select just about anyone who falls to them based on ability. There's no glaring need anywhere.
Could LAC find their next sixth man?
Clarkson's name comes up on more than one instance here, so it's worth taking a closer look at the 6'5" combo guard and why he makes sense for Los Angeles.
Reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford will turn 35 next season, and Clarkson could slide right into his role as a scorer off the bench when he moves on.
Scoring from anywhere on the floor is one of Clarkson's biggest strengths, much like Crawford:
The caveat here is that Clarkson needs time to develop before he can become anywhere close to the type of producer Crawford's been over the course of his career. Like any promising draft prospect, the potential is clear and one can't help but like the similarities in the guards' size, versatility and scoring ability.
In addition, Darren Collison could leave via free agency as early as this offseason, making the backup point guard spot an area of need. Clarkson is a capable ball-handler who can fill that void if necessary.
Going big can pay big dividends
Quality big men aren't easy to find at the NBA level, so if one slips, it could make sense for Los Angeles to nab him despite having a dynamic starting frontcourt in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
If the Clippers can secure a rotation player who can fill in at the low post, then it could take pressure off the current group of bigs and help preserve them for a deep run next season. Nurkic is a raw 19-year-old prospect from Bosnia and Herzegovina who has potential on the defensive end if he can learn to stay out of foul trouble.
The rim protector is becoming a key component for sustainable success in the modern NBA, and if one were available at pick 28, then the Clips would have every reason to reach.
As the Clippers prepare to find their next diamond in the rough, the possibilities remain wide open.