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NBA Draft 2016: NCAA Wing Targets for the Clippers (Part 1)

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Here are some long-shot prospects at the Clippers' biggest position of need.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft, we're going to look at a ton of possible selections for the Clippers.  This time around, we're checking out some potential selections on the wing--where the Clippers have their most dire need roster-wise.  Not all of these players are natural fits at SF, but they're all intriguing prospects, even if they would be best at the SG or PF positions.  Please note that analysis of these players is largely secondhand after reading and watching scout video from a variety of sources (mainly those listed in the tables), and then compiling and summarizing.

Patrick McCaw

Projections:
Source Draft Express Mock Draft Express Big Board Bodner USAT Mock Kevin O'Connor Big Board Kevin O'Connor Mock Tankathon.com Mock
Ranking 31 31 26 23 28 Not 1st Round

McCaw is a popular late first pick, and he falls right in the range where he should be available for the Clippers at 25, but shouldn't last until 33.  There's a chance that he could go ahead of 25 or below 33, but that range is pretty likely.  He's a 3-and-D style SG/SF from UNLV, but he'll need a little work on both of those things to be effective in the NBA.  Offensively, he shot just 35% from deep in his sophomore year, and he's definitely not polished all-around offensively.  That said, both O'Connor's profile and DraftExpress' combine report credit his ability to make solid reads as a secondary pick-and-roll ball-handler.  A lot of his impact offensively will depend on whether or not he can hit reliably from deep.

The defensive end of the floor is where McCaw brings a lot of value.  He's very good off the ball and in passing lanes, and he has a really solid stance with quick feet and hands.  His main issue will be his strength: he's just 180 pounds at 6'7", which makes it somewhat impossible to imagine him defending strong NBA small forwards unless he gains a LOT of weight and strength.

For the Clippers, the question with McCaw comes down to those two factors: do you trust his shot, and can you work around his skinny frame?  If the answer to both is yes, he's a really solid selection at 25.  If the answer to one or both is no, then he shifts from "good young player with upside" to "long-term project".

DeAndre Bembry

Projections:
Source Draft Express Mock Draft Express Big Board Bodner USAT Mock Kevin O'Connor Big Board Kevin O'Connor Mock Tankathon.com Mock
Ranking 30 29 21 20 27 Not 1st Round

Bembry from St. Joseph's is a shooting guard/small forward who seems to be right in the Clippers range--probably to be available at 25, would have to slip a little for 33.  He measured at 6'5.75" in shoes at the combine, which is on the small side for a 3, but his length will help enough to make him passable there.  The larger concern with Bembry is his shooting--he hit just 26.6% from deep his junior year and doesn't have great mechanics.  Beyond that, he never showed consistent defensive effort in college and got lost a lot off of the ball.

On the plus side, he's a really versatile and natural player who can make plays and create offense.  In college, he played every position on the floor except for center, and was an effective distributor from all over the court.  O'Connor notes that he has upside as a multiple-position defender in the NBA, but it's not clear if that will ever materialize.  Ultimately, he has a lot of tools that make him attractive at the end of the first round, but he'll really need some work to refine his game and fit into a role.  I'm not super comfortable with his fit based on what I've read about him, but he's valued well enough by the experts that he'd at least be a respectable pick at 25, and a good best-player-available catch at 33.

Dorian Finney-Smith

Projections:
Source Draft Express Mock Draft Express Big Board Bodner USAT Mock Kevin O'Connor Big Board Kevin O'Connor Mock Tankathon.com Mock
Ranking 59 60 Not 1st Round 39 Not 1st Round Not 1st Round

Finney-Smith is clearly considered more of a mid-late second round pick than a player who should go in the Clippers' range, but if they don't go for a wing in the first round, he'd be one of their options if they needed a wing in the second round.  He's also an intriguing enough prospect to be worth a look if they end up with a later pick, or if he ends up undrafted.  He's a 23-year-old 3-and-D combo forward who, despite having limited upside and being one of the oldest players in the draft, could be very, very solid for what the Clippers need.  At the combine, he measured at 6'7.75" with a 6'11.75" wingspan and a 41.5" vertical--those are some great measurables for an NBA small forward.

Finny-Smith comes into the draft as a 5th-year senior from Florida.  In his redshirt junior and senior years, he shot 42.6% and 36.8% from three.  Last year, he shot 42% from the left corner and 58% from the right corner--a great sign for a potential Clippers fit.  He's got somewhat unorthodox mechanics, but it's hard to argue with his effectiveness considering his percentage and volume.  Otherwise, he doesn't do much offensively, lacking a high-level handle or post game.  He also projects as being a very solid wing defender--but he's not quite strong enough to guard bigs, not quite quick enough laterally to guard fast players.

All in all, if the shot translates, he sounds like a good fit for the Clippers.  A really solid wing defender who can hit a good percentage from three is what they've been looking for for years.  Their selection at #33 seems like a bit of a reach due to where he's projected, but he'll be available to them if they like him--and it seems to me that they should.  It's easy to see why other teams might not have him high on big boards due to his limited upside, but he has the right floor in the right attributes to be really, really attractive to the Clippers.

Malcolm Brogdon

Projections:
Source Draft Express Mock Draft Express Big Board Bodner USAT Mock Kevin O'Connor Big Board Kevin O'Connor Mock Tankathon.com Mock
Ranking 41 41 30 19 Not 1st Round Not 1st Round

Brogdon's an intriguing prospect because he was so solid on the wing for Virginia, which has been one of the best defensive teams in the country.  If he had a little more size, he'd be a perfect pick for the Clippers--a high-profile, experienced 3-and-D wing.  Unfortunately, his suspect shot, lack of size, and age add up to a very iffy pick.  He was just 6'3.75" without shoes at the combine, which is kind of small even for a shooting guard, but his 6'10.5" wingspan helps to make up for it.  He'll turn 24 in December, but that's part of the cost of drafting a 5th-year senior who was a multi-year major contributor for a big program.  He was mediocre shooting above-the-break threes in college (33% left wing, 34% right wing), but he was stellar in the corners (60% left, 64% right).

I'm a little concerned about putting him on small forwards due to his size, but O'Connor is very, very complimentary of his on- and off-ball defensive abilities, due to length, motor, quickness, and an incredibly high IQ.  I'm also less than excited about his shooting, as it could be very frustrating to watch him try to extend his range just to be able to hit 30% on above-the-break NBA threes.  Going in the first round at 25 could be somewhat of a reach, but at 33 he's a very, very defensible pick, and he feels like the kind of prospect that Doc would like--experienced, solid, and smart.