Neil Olshey and Andy Roeser on the AFA Pick

Unfortunately, my iPod Touch's recorder has decided to go AWOL, so I'm not going to be able to give you direct quotes right now.  Hopefully the Clippers had the Flip Video going, and there will be a video on their site of the full conference soon.

As you might expect, Olshey and Roeser were thrilled that Al-Farouq Aminu was available at eight.  They had a private workout with him back on June 1st, before there public workouts even started.  They say he was first on their draft board all along, so obviously when he was there it was an easy pick.

Olshey truly believes that he's an NBA small forward and that he was playing out of position in Winston-Salem at the four.  He blames his relative lack of a perimeter skills currently on the fact that he wasn't asked to play on the perimeter, and thinks AFA DOES have a left hand, no matter what Jay Bilas says (that's a near quote).  He mentioned the Clippers' inability to rebound from the three spot the last few years.  He felt like they've been making do with guys who weren't really threes in that spot the last few years.  He thinks AFA is a prototypical NBA three body wise, and that he'll develop the offensive game.

He also made the point, with which I totally agree, that having AFA and Blake Griffin at the forward spots provides a lot of flexibility.  Jon Barry criticized the pick during the ESPN broadcast because he felt AFA was too much like BG.  Well, if BG is a power forward whose quick enough to play some three, and AFA is a small forward whose big and long enough to play some four, is that a problem?  Of course we'll have to see if either of them are quick enough to defend the best small forwards in the league (and some of those guys can't be defended by anyone).  But look at it this way.  The three highest scoring threes in the NBA last season were Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.  AFA, if he is who we think he is, is the prototypical guy to defend Durant - quick enough to stay in front of him, long enough to bother him, at least a little.  Griffin is probably the guy you would build from scratch for defending Anthony.  And no one can guard LeBron, but either of them can in theory do a better job than anyone who was on the Clippers' roster last season.  (If LeBron is a Clipper next, that problem goes away.)  Defensively, I LOVE the potential of AFA and Griffin at the forwards.

As I said during the SBNation mock draft, the idea of Eric Gordon (21), Blake Griffin (21) and AFA (19 until September) is tantalizing.  AFA's 7'3" wing span is ridiculous, and he's a monster athlete for his size.  As an offensive player, the one thing he does really well is run the floor and finish on the break.  I asked Olshey and Roeser if this combination of youth, athleticism and ability to run (Griffin, Gordon, AFA, Baron) would inform the coaching decision - i.e. would they be looking for a coach who would play uptempo.  Their answer was a pretty emphatic yes.  They feel like the horses that are currently in the stable need to get out and run.  It's hard to argue, and obviously we'd all love to see that.

Bonus tidbits from Olshey and Roeser:

The coach timeline is before free agency.  I assume that means July 1 (when negotiations can start) as opposed to July 8 (when players can sign).  Either way, it's a pretty aggessive timeline at this point, so expect things to happen there.

DeAndre Jordan will play with the team in Las Vegas Summer League.  The Summer League team will be built around those two guys.

As we'd already heard, Blake Griffin will practice with the team in Las Vegas, but will not play games there.  That seems like a great course of action.  BG's got nothing to prove in summer league.

MBFGC will also probably be in Vegas with the team.  Neil was non-committal on whether he would actually play in summer league, a decision that may depend on whether they can work out a contract by that time.  Obviously, the Clippers won't be committing money to Sofo until the major free agency decisions have been made, so that they can conserve their cap space, but there certainly could be enough time before Summer League starts to get that done if the dominoes fall quickly.

I am assuming that Olshey and Roeser will be back soon to answer questions on the Bledsoe trade.  I'll let you know when I know.

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