The Los Angeles Clippers still have many holes to fill after the 2014 NBA draft, and there are plenty of undrafted free agents that could prove to be steals. Despite selecting C.J. Wilcox with the 28th pick, the team still has many needs entering free agency and would be wise to take a gamble on one of these five players who were not drafted.
The Los Angeles Clippers literally have no depth behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Patric Young may have flaws in his game, but his size, strength and competitiveness would absolutely help the Clippers immediately.
Young measured 6’10” with a 7’1.75” wingspan and a chiseled 247 pounds. He looks more like a defensive end than a basketball player, but his strength and size would be a welcomed addition to a Clippers frontcourt that struggled to defend and rebound last season.
Although he would struggle to play power forward, due to his lack of offensive skill, he is big enough to defend centers and is a solid offensive rebounder, pulling down 12.2 percent of his offensive rebound opportunities.
Transferring from Pittsburgh to UNLV during his freshman season, Khem Birch proved that he could translate his physical tools to on-the-court production. The 6’9.25” Birch is very athletic and quick, allowing him to block shots and control the glass.
Pulling down an impressive 10.2 rebounds per game and blocking 3.8 shots, Birch can be a defensive marvel when used properly. Again, the Clippers desperately need help in the paint, and Birch would fill a huge need behind Jordan.
The real question is will his offensive game ever catch up, and if it does not, will he be able to earn minutes based on his defense alone?
Considering Darren Collison has opted out of the final year of his contract, the Los Angeles Clippers are in search of a reserve for Chris Paul. Jahii Carson would provide the team with an explosive, quick point guard who is capable of breaking down defenders off the dribble.
While Paul is one of the best passers in the entire league, Carson is somewhat the opposite. Averaging only 5.2 assists per 40 minutes, Carson must improve his playmaking if he wants to see the floor in the NBA.
Defensively, Carson must prove that he can utilize his elite physical tools in order to defend point guards in the NBA. He struggled mightily in college at Arizona State because players could easily shoot over him, and he lacked the defensive intensity to stick with his man.
Typically, the University of Buffalo is not the program most think of when discussing NBA prospects. However, that changed after Javon McCrea’s freshman season. McCrea pulled down 17.2 percent of his offensive rebound opportunities at the age of 17.
His productivity remained impressive for the next three years. McCrea developed into an elite rebounder and one of the best in this draft class. Standing only 6’8”, his 7’3” wingspan and his strength allowed him to gobble up rebounds and block shots as well as anyone in the draft.
While he is a power forward, his offensive game relies on rebounds, cuts and easy baskets. Unless he develops some sort of a jumper, McCrea will struggle to become an offensive threat.
The best way to describe Keith Appling is with one word: winner. Although he is more of a scorer than a true point guard, he is more than capable of running an offense, as he managed Tom Izzo’s quite successfully. Measuring 6’1” with a 6’5” wingspan, he has decent size for a point guard and is athletic enough to create his own shot.
Perhaps the most important attribute Appling brings is the ability to play off the ball. This is important because Jamal Crawford loves to dominate the ball with the Los Angeles Clippers reserves. Appling’s ability to slash and penetrate off kick outs and spot up for three would be a good fit with Crawford’s style of play.
Defensively, Appling is a solid team defender, but he might struggle one-on-one. His value will not be on the defensive side of the ball but rather his ability to manage an offense, play off the ball and be a solid team defender.
Stats via Sports Reference unless otherwise noted.