Clipper Workouts Two and Three

As of the beginning of June, the Clippers had yet to work out any draft prospects.  As of today, June 9th, they have worked out 18.

If you are interested (and I assume you are), the team is doing a good job of posting information about the workouts on the new website.  Go to the Draft Central page for the lots of information, including the continually updated list of players that have worked out for the team.

I've already written about the first workout, which included three of the more intriguing potential 'need' picks at number eight - Gordon Hayward, Paul George and Xavier Henry. On Monday the six players that visited Playa Vista  included a couple of bigs that could conceivably fall into the category of 'best player available' at eight (Ekpe Udoh and Hassan Whiteside).  Today, they got their up close look at perhaps the most intriguing of the 'fills a need at small forward but is he really worth a mid-lottery pick' candidates, Luke Babbitt.  And in addition to those three, they've looked at a bunch of other guys, some of whom really make you wonder what Neil Olshey has cooking.

Here are the 18 players they've worked out, in order of their draft position in the mock draft on DraftExpress, or in the case of undrafted players by their overall ranking there.  (Obviously DraftExpress is not the be all end all, but it serves to place a relative value on the prospects.)

Prospect

Draft

Rank

Pos

Ekpe Udoh

8

12

PF

Paul George

12

10

SF

Xavier Henry

13

14

SG

Avery Bradley

14

24

SG

Gordon Hayward

15

28

SF

Hassan Whiteside

16

22

C

Luke Babbitt

20

15

SF

Eric Bledsoe

25

33

PG

Willie Warren

28

26

SG

Terrico White

34

42

PG

Latavious Williams

44

55

F

Lazar Hayward

52

56

SF

Jerome Randle

54

32

PG

Jeremy Wise

N/A

93

PG

Scottie Reynolds

N/A

91

PG

Marcus Johnson

N/A

N/A

SF

Landon Milbourne

N/A

N/A

SF

Marquez Haynes

N/A

N/A

PG

What jumps out at me right away is that there are several top prospects that could fall to the Clippers that they haven't yet looked at.  In addition to the players that fill the need at small forward like Al-Farouq Aminu and Wesley Johnson, there are guys like Greg Monroe and Cole Aldrich and Ed Davis, at least a couple of whom are going to be available at eight, and who may be the proverbial 'best player available' when the time comes to make that pick.  The Clippers need to work those guys out, and I assume they will.

In the list above, you have to assume that all of the players through Luke Babbitt are being considered with that eighth pick.  Sure it seems like a reach for Gordon Hayward and others, but given the gaping hole on the roster at the three, it's certainly worth considering taking the best available small forward there.  (Avery Bradley is probably the biggest reach up there, since he's way too small to play the three and is really a pure two - a need for the team certainly, but not a big enough need to consider Bradley at eight in my opinion.)

The names at the end of the list are potential second round picks (the Clippers have the 54th pick in the draft, coincidentally getting Jerome Randle in the DraftExpress mock) or undrafted free agents they could invite to summer league and/or training camp.  Strange things happen in the second round, and it's hard to know where these guys are going to fall.  It's pretty clear from the list of prospects they've worked out that the Clippers consider back up point guard to be a significant need as well.  I don't disagree, but finding a point guard capable of running an NBA team at 54 would be very unusual.

Eric Beldsoe and Willie Warren seem to be in no man's land as regards the Clippers existing draft picks. 
They would be extreme reaches at eight, not even justified by positional need, but it would seem highly unlikely that they would still be available at 54.  They're 'tweeners' as regards the Clippers draft positions.  The fact that the Clippers bothered to work them out, coupled with the handful of wings that seem like nice players, but not really top ten picks, makes one wonder if the Clippers are considering moving down in the draft, or otherwise picking up a later first round pick.  I've seen rumors that picks 23 (the Wolves third first rounder), 25 or 28 (Memphis' second two of three picks) and 29 (Orlando's pick) may all be for sale.  The Clippers roster situation screams for cheap bodies, and a late first round or early second rounder might be just what they need.

Scott Howard-Cooper reported today that Olshey is indeed getting phone calls regarding the eighth pick, though the focus of his article was more on getting veteran help than on getting a different draft pick.  Suffice it to say that there are a lot of options with the Clippers and the draft this year.  They're unlikely to find a perfect fit for their needs at eight, they have a lot of rosters spots to fill, they have some intriguing trade pieces like the future Minnesota pick, and they have a ton of cap space.  Olshey told SHC "from a deal-flow position, we've only recently been talking to [other teams]. It seems like it's just now heating up."  In other words, anything could happen.

For what it's worth, I've become more and more enamored of the idea of Gordon Hayward.  Perhaps they could draft the idea of Gordon Hayward, as opposed to the player.  For one thing, what if the Clippers had four young stars named Griffin, Gordon (Hayward), (Eric) Gordon and Jordan?  If David Geffen bought the team, they'd simply have to draft Hayward: Geffen, Griffin, Gordon, Gordon and Jordan.  Remember the old Bob Newhart Show?  Their neighbor Howard Borden had a brother named Gordon who worked as a Game Warden in Oregon.  He was Warden Gordon Borden.  It would be like that: Geffen, Griffin, Gordon, Gordon and Jordan.  On a more serious note, I go back to something that Citizen Zhiv said last week - Hayward is the anti-Thornton and the anti-Maggette.  We've lived for so long with small forwards who are athletic and super talented, but not really playmakers.  Hayward is such a change of pace for the Clippers - he's like a point guard in a small forward's body.  He can rebound, he can pass, he can handle, he can shoot.  As for his defense, he may lack elite lateral quickness, but in an NBA defense, the ability to read and rotate, things that come easily to a player with Hayward's BBIQ, is perhaps more important.  I just think the guy's going to be a solid pro, but I could be wrong.

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