In the first piece that went up yesterday, we went over the prospects that could help out right now. Some of those guys could also help out in the future but probably not as much as the next couple of players. In the piece that will go up tomorrow, we'll go over the international prospects in this draft that the Clippers might look at. But, before that, here five players the Clippers might have a chance at selecting in the first round and what they could bring to the table.
THE "WE CAN HELP NOW BUT ALSO LATER" GUYS
Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA: Standing at, almost, 6'5" and 209 pounds, Jordan Adams has pretty solid size to be a prototypical NBA shooting guard. The more impressive stuff from him, however, happens to be that he has a 6'10" wingspan and his efficient scoring ability. One of the problems with him, though, is that he's a little bit on the chubby side and not as athletic as you'd like out of a shooting guard going into the NBA. Adams had nearly 11% body fat at the combine and his max vertical leap was only 29½", which is pretty underwhelming. But he uses his size to get what he wants on offense. He's able to do well on the block in post-up situations and can finish through bigs due to his strength and length. Adams shot 65.6% at the rim during non-transition sets and did a good job of bodying through defenders on his way there. As a slashing two guard, he has a lot of upside and the analytics guys love him and think he's undervalued because the numbers speak to how good he is but the draft boards don't. He's great in transition, great off the ball, crashes the offensive glass, and has improved a little bit as a shooter. The main problems he has are that he's not that adept of a long-range shooter, despite being a very good mid-range weapon, can get lost on defense at times and also is not that athletic. But the upside is there with him turning 20 years old in early July. He can definitely help now off the bench as a slashing option and solid defender who can hit mid-range jumpers. He can also develop into something a whole lot more in the future if he gets in a tad better shape and improves his jumper more.
Nick Johnson, CG, Arizona: It's interesting when looking at Nick Johnson because, in a lot of ways, he kinda reminds me of Eric Bledsoe when Eric Bledsoe came out of Kentucky. Phenomenal athlete, very good defender, questionable shot at times, great in transition, and no real true backcourt position. Bledsoe molded himself into kind of a do-it-all guard and I believe Johnson can give you a few of the things Bledsoe did. Nick Johnson is 6'3" and 198 pounds with a 6'7" wingspan and 41½" max step vertical leap. Athleticism is in his genetics and he flashes it on the court endlessly. Johnson isn't a great ball-handler and not a great playmaker but can do a solid job of finding seams to create scoring lanes for both himself and others. He's also a solid catch-and-shoot option on the wing from deep - 38% this year - and also can finish around the rim for a smaller guard (58%). Johnson doesn't have great size but he and Bledsoe sorta have that in common with each other. While Johnson is 21 years old and it doesn't seem like there's a ton of upside there, he's still showing improvements as a player on the court that could continue further down the line. He's probably a high second round pick right now but selecting him late in the first isn't a huge issue. He's going to stick in the NBA because of his defense, athleticism, and competitive nature. The potential is there from that base of skills for him to get better on offense and be a viable combo guard off the bench.
Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan: Baby "Big Dog" is a pretty intriguing prospect because, much like Tim Hardaway Jr last year, he played on Michigan and is the son of a former NBA player. When writing about Hardaway Jr during draft time last year, I mentioned that the fact he had a father who played in the NBA would help his eventual adjustment to the life since he has someone who knows what it was like. Robinson is pretty much in those same shoes this year. Robinson measured in at nearly 6'7" and 211 with a 6'10" wingspan, 5% body fat, and 41½" max step vertical leap. His lane agility was on par with Rodney Hood and he posted the third fastest sprint time at the combine, as well. He's a very good athlete, to say the least. Great one, actually. Robinson is a very good mid-range shooter, finisher around the rim, and has a good first step. He also has the physical tools to be a good defensive player going forward. The issues with him are that he's not a good ball-handler, can't really create his own shot that well, isn't a real good decision maker, can get careless with his dribble, and isn't a great shooter from deep. He'll have to work on all of those going forward. He's still just 20 years old and won't turn 21 until July but his athleticism, defense, mid-range jumper, and ability around the rim give him the tools to help a team now as well as allow him to get better in the future. The hope is there and the foundation is definitely in place for him to get better as he gets older.
Spencer Dinwiddie, CG, Colorado: Dwinwiddie is probably one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft for a multitude of reasons and I have to admit that I kinda am cheating here by putting him in this section even though he's 21 years old and doesn't have monster upside. One of the reasons he's here is because he tore his ACL last year during the college season after starting off red hot. While he could definitely come back and play during the upcoming NBA season, it's up to the team who takes him to decide whether that's the best course of action. Either way, potential is strong in him because of the fact he's such a great offensive player. He's 6'6" and 205 pounds with a 6'8" wingspan. While he's not going to be a point guard at the next level, he did flash point (and combo) guard potential this year with his passing and decision making. He's not a great athlete but he's good enough to do what he wants thanks to his agility and quickness. He's become a better finisher and a more consistent shooter throughout his career. Dinwiddie is almost the total package out of a guard prospect, outside of being a true facilitator. He can finish, shoot with great efficiency, and is a pure scorer while also having the ability to set up others. The problems are pretty much on the defensive end. He doesn't have the requisite athleticism to stay in front of guys and can get beaten. I wouldn't say he's a bad defender but he's probably average at best. If he recovers from the ACL injury, which no one knows how that'll go, then the Clippers, or whoever takes him, could have a nice piece on their hands because of his offensive package.
Mitch McGary, FC, Michigan: It's not every day you say that a 22 year old big man has the potential to be a vital player on a team, especially when said 22 year old big man has injury issues and faced a marijuana suspension. But here he is. The last known measurements of McGary have him at 6'10½" and 266 pounds with a 6'11½" wingspan. Wingspan to height ratio wise, he's not that impressive but it is adequate enough. His size makes him a prototypical power forward or energy center going forward. McGary does feature some nice components to his game, though. He hustles all the time, attacks the glass, is athletic, and defends adequately enough. Speaking of defense, his post defense and weakside rotational defense aren't going to be great things for him since, as mentioned, he doesn't have the raw athleticism and length to bother guys. However, he is a good team defender because of his intelligence and agility, which is a good thing because he shows potential as a good pick-and-roll defender. In a weird way, McGary's pretty much nothing more than a roleplayer since his offensive skills are ultimately limited to him just running the floor hard, finishing around the rim, and cleaning up offensive rebounds. The thing to remember, though, is that guys like that do last. In a weird way, he could almost be a little similar to Zaza Pachulia. Sticks around, does the little things, always in the right spot, and helps you win games. But there is the potential for him to do it for a long time, if the back issue isn't going to linger on.