After an extended wait, Clippers head coach and team president Doc Rivers sat down with us at the team's practice facility in Playa Vista to answer some questions about the draft, draft process, and new Clipper C.J. Wilcox.
As he normally does, Doc lauded his scouting team. He noted "I try not to pay too much attention to workouts" when asked about Wilcox's declaration to the media that the Clippers workout was one of his worst, instead emphasizing that he lets the scouts do their job. He told us that he makes the final pick, but he lets the scouts come to him with a few finalist names and he chooses from there.
When asked about Wilcox's skill set, Doc seemed very excited about his shooting skill: "I thought he may have been the best shooter in the draft [...] I think shooting is a premium in this league, and the more you have it, the better it is for us." C.J. made a note of stating on his conference call that Doc emphasized defense to him when he called to inform him that he'd been picked. Doc confirmed this and spoke excitedly of the shooting guard's defensive potential, saying "He's long, he's athletic, and it's rare when you get a shooter like that [...] that wants to defend. You know, that's a great combination."
Overall, people seem to question C.J.'s fit on the team most. Wilcox is the team's fourth shooting guard, joining an already deep position on the squad that features J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, and Willie Green. While Crawford and Green have both been mentioned in trade rumors, it still seems odd to choose a guy who you don't have a need for. Doc acknowledged this, but noted that this late in the draft he believes in taking the best player available, and that's what he did today: "We have Jamal and JJ, but he's the best player, and I think you can always make it work when you can get the best player." He was very candid, stating that in order to get minutes, Wilcox will have to beat out those guys, and even though Doc believes "...he can play the three some", he noted that he'll still have to beat out veteran players at the SF position.
When asked who the other players the Clippers were considering were, Rivers said he would not disclose that information because "some are maybe still in play". Rivers also had his phone on during the press conference and checked it, but didn't answer. He told us "this might be something big", but I'm pretty sure he was joking. Either way, he may have believed that an important call could be coming if he was checking his phone during the session.
On other topics, Doc noted that he already knows who he plans to bring in as assistant coaches, but would not reveal names at this time in case the deals fell through. He indicated he'll be hiring at least two assistants. Also, when the Donald Sterling situation was alluded to, Rivers indicated that he's just going to keep working and doing his job and let it play out in the courts. He said he hopes to wake up one day and find that the entire situation is over, but until then he, and the rest of the staff, will stay open and continue working hard.
Look out tonight and tomorrow for more information from Doc River's press availability and C.J. Wilcox's conference call with the interview.