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The Clippers First Workout Session: Who was Invited?

The Clippers had the first of many pre-draft workouts today, bringing in seven NCAA players from all over the country. Who are they, and could the Clippers actually draft any of them?

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Ben Bentil, #45 on Draft Express Top 100 Prospects, 21.1 points/7.7 rebounds/1.1 assists per game

Bentil is a 6'9 tall, 235 pound forward from Providence. Ben is 21 years old but only a sophomore, which could split evaluators who base upside off of years playing high-level basketball vs. pure age. He was one of the best scorers in the NCAA last year, putting up 21 points per game and almost 23 in conference play. Bentil got to the line frequently, but needs work on his jumper: he shot only 33% from deep, and that's a number that must improve for him to transition to the pro game. Nonetheless, his rebounding is quite good, and his size makes him an ideal stretch four. He could turn into an interesting player, and his stock might go way up if he works out well.

Jaron Blossomgame, #51 on Draft Express, 18.7/6.6/1.5 per game

Blossomgame is another wing, but somewhat smaller at 6'7 and 215. A junior out of Clemson, Blossomgame's shooting made a huge jump from his second to third years in college, soaring from 29% to 44% on almost double the attempts. He is one of the older prospects in this draft at over 22.5 years of age, and his upside is limited because of it. Long, athletic, and a good rebounder, he also must continue to prove that his shooting is no fluke or it will be hard for him to find playing time at the next level.

Robert Carter, #44 on Draft Express, 12.4/7.0/1.9 per game

The only big man at the session, Carter is a hefty 6'9 and 251 pound power forward. While his numbers don't look great, Maryland had a stacked roster, especially with big men, and he didn't always get a chance to shine. He does have a versatile offensive game, as he can shoot midrange jumpers, turn over the shoulder for a hook, or bully defenders in the post. His rebounding and defense are both solid, but he isn't quick, and that might be a problem in today's switch and pick and roll heavy NBA. Nonetheless, his offensive skills mean he will probably be picked somewhere in the 2nd round, maybe even the late 1st if someone falls in love with his game.

Yogi Ferrell, #65 on Draft Express, 17.3/3.8/5.6 per game

Yogi is legitimately one of the best players in Indiana's storied basketball history. A jitterbug point guard who is extremely prolific from deep, Ferrell is more of a scorer than a pure playmaker, though he is an unselfish passer and is willing to run plays. Ferrell's main problem in the NBA is size: he is generously listed at 6 feet tall, and even more graciously at 178 pounds. He definitely has the skills to play in the NBA on offense-- there is no real question about that. But can he defend other point guards for any length of time without killing his team? Isaiah Thomas can, but Ferrell is a long shot to be that good in the NBA. I think he might actually do well in the pros, but I don't see him being a fit on the Clips.

Damion Lee, #63 on Draft Express, 15.9/3.9/2.0 per game

More of a shooting guard than Jaron or Bentil, Lee is 6'6 and weighs 210 pounds. He was a graduate student transfer at Louisville this past season after playing at smaller colleges for his undergraduate career. His primary skill is shooting the ball. While he was only at 34% from three this past season, he made two of them a game, and shot 36% for his career. More importantly, he was an 84% free throw shooter throughout his collegiate years, a really solid mark that means his shooting should translate well. He is already 23 and a half years old though, and would be a very low-upside pick. I can't see the Clippers drafting him.

Isaiah Taylor, #69 on Draft Express, 15.1/2.8/5.0 per game

Taylor is fast. Maybe he doesn't possess John Wall or Russell Westbrook level speed, but he's not that far away either. He isn't as big, strong, or athletic as those guys though.... which is why he is projected so far down the rankings. He can make plays for others and is great going to the rim, but like those two NBA stars above, he gets baited into jump shots far too frequently. A poor outside shooter, Isaiah will be 22 just a couple weeks after the draft, and while he has the potential to be a solid backup point guard, he needs to work on his jump shot and decision making.

Troy Williams, #86 on Draft Express, 13.3/5.8/2.0 per game

Troy was a teammate of Yogi's for three years at Indiana, but is thinking about leaving after his junior year. Yet another wing, Troy is 6'7 and 218, around the same size as Blossomgame. His numbers are solid enough, but they are virtually the same as his stats in his sophomore year. He did make a marked effort to become more of a presence from deep, going from 0.4 attempts to 2.1 a game from behind the arc, and was able to convert on around 35% of his threes. A decent rebounder, Williams doesn't seem above average in many other ways. I think he ends up going back for his senior year to try to raise his stock.

Summary: I think Williams should (and will) go back to college, Taylor, Lee, and Ferrell seem more like training camp invitees than potential draft picks (though all have some intriguing qualities), and Blossomgame would be somewhat of a reach at 33. Carter and Bentil are legitimate choices in the early 2nd round, but there will probably be better prospects available in that range. These are all older players with low ceilings, which isn't always a bad thing, but I think Doc will scout out some younger guys in other workouts.