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NBA Draft 2016: International Forward Targets for the Clippers

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We continue looking at NBA Draft prospects.

It's hard finding decent pictures of these guys.
It's hard finding decent pictures of these guys.
Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

In the weeks leading up to the draft, we're going to look at a ton of possible selections for the Clippers.  Today, we'll check out some international forwards.  This is a tough distinction to make from wings, but these players are more PF types, who can sometimes maybe play SF, while the "wings" grouping had more SG/SF and solid SF types.  Going with an international prospect in the draft can be a high-risk, high-reward gamble.  Sometimes guys who are unknown or under appreciated burst onto the scene--others never come over to the NBA at all.  Since these players tend to be so volatile, the Clippers have to be prepared for most international picks to end up as draft-and-stash players who don't come over immediately.  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.  Scouting is a precarious game, and it's most volatile with international players, even for the experts.  I'm going to do my best, but this is my acknowledgement that these projections could end up being WAY off once these players do (or don't) reach the NBA.

Petr Cornelie

Source Draft Express Mock Draft Express Big Board Bodner USAT Mock Kevin O'Connor Big Board Kevin O'Connor Mock Mock
Ranking 28 27 25 31 23 Not 1st Round

Cornelie projects to be available in the Clippers' range, and he's a pure stretch 4 from Europe: 7' tall and 40% from deep.  He'll turn 21 in July and is projected as a fringe first-round pick who could easily wind up the Clippers' selection at 25, or fall into their laps at 33.  Both O'Connor and DraftExpress credit his athleticism in transition, defensively, and finishing on the pick-and-roll.  As a shooter and overall perimeter scorer, he's very good--but his lack of strength will limit him from effectively screening, rebounding, and defending the post.  He could thrive with an interior big man, because his weak-side shot blocking should be at least serviceable due to his height and athleticism, and his perimeter game would complement someone like DeAndre Jordan perfectly.  On top of that, his quickness suggests that he would eventually be able to be a very good pick-and-roll defender.

But, a severe lack of strength and experience could really hold him back.  His shot is very good, but it's easy to see the rest of his perimeter skills not translate immediately due to the increased pace and physicality of the NBA game.  On the inside, it might take him a couple of years to get strong enough to be playable, and O'Connor specifically points out that there could be a tough learning process for him on the defensive end.  Cornelie might or might not be the right pick for the Clippers at 25, depending on what more advanced knowledge LAC's scouts can bring in on him.  At 33, he'd probably be a good gamble.

Guerschon Yabusele

Source Draft Express Mock Draft Express Big Board Bodner USAT Mock Kevin O'Connor Big Board Kevin O'Connor Mock Mock
Ranking 34 34 Not 1st Round Not top 45 Not 1st Round Not 1st Round

I'm sorry, but doesn't the name "Guerschon Yabusele" kind of sound like the guy who you draft in the second round, own the rights to for 15 years, and then trade away as filler in a minor deal?  The 20-year-old frenchman averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 29 minutes this past season, impressive marks for a young player.  He also stepped up his shooting from the year before, going from 0.1-0.3 threes per game to 0.8-1.8 threes per game, good for over 42%.  While he isn't the pure stretch shooter that Cornelie is, that's a very good sign that his jump shot is progressing, and while he might not be a capable NBA shooter right away, the potential seems to be there.

Physically, he's built like an undersized bruiser: 6'8" with a 240-pound muscular frame.  While O'Connor hasn't profiled Yabusele, DraftExpress credits him as long-armed and athletic.  It's hard to work with limited information, but it's easy to see why Yabusele is an attractive prospect in the modern NBA--he has the physique to potentially compete inside despite being undersized, and the potential to develop a perimeter game to space the floor offensively as a 4 (or possible even Draymond Green-esque 5).  If the Clippers go with him at 33, it would probably be as an upgrade or complement to the Branden Dawson experiment, with the hopes that by having two lotto cards instead of one, they'd increase their chances of nabbing a long-term smallball option.

Rade Zagorac

Source Draft Express Mock Draft Express Big Board Bodner USAT Mock Kevin O'Connor Big Board Kevin O'Connor Mock Mock
Ranking 36 36 Not 1st Round Not top 45 Not 1st Round Not 1st Round

Zagorac joins Yabusele as a player who DraftExpress pegs as an early second round, but O'Connor hasn't profiled yet.  He's a 6'9" combo forward, but lacking information from DraftExpress or O'Connor about his play, it's really hard to project too much more than that.  He only weighs 205, which tells us he's not the inside presence that Yabusele is, but he shot just 28% from deep in the small 13-game sample size available on DraftExpress.  He's also the oldest of the bunch, turning 21 in August.

I'm sorry to be so useless when it comes to breaking down Zagorac as a prospect, but I'd rather admit ignorance than guess wildly and make a fool of myself.  Here's hoping that the Clippers know far more about him than I do, and that he's good enough for them to draft him a little early and find a sleeper.