So, when the Clippers traded their 33rd pick for picks 39 and 40, it was both a good move and a bad one. It was bad because Demetrius Jackson, a prospect that most on the internet liked in the mid-first round, was still on the board at 33. It was good because no matter how smart we all think we are, history has proven that buying more lottery tickets is a far more effective draft strategy than picking better lottery numbers.
And then, 39 came around, and Jackson remained on the board (along with a bunch of other guys I liked, like Zhou Qi and Jake Layman). But the Clippers took a different point guard--David Michineau, a 22-year-old French prospect who I didn't see on a single mock draft all year long. DraftExpress has him ranked 85th on their big board, and he didn't make Kevin O'Connor's top 100. I didn't see any of the experts talking about who this Clippers reach is--and if they aren't talking on draft day, it's because they don't know much about him.
So who is he? Well, his 2016 measurements at Eurocamp are solid for a point guard, but nothing special--6'2.5" barefoot, 6'3.5" in shoes, 180 pounds, 6'5" wingspan and 35" max vertical. He played for ES Chalon-Sur-Saone in France--the fourth-place team in the French ProA league, behind recognizable teams like Monaco and Le Mans. Celtics draft pick Guerschon Yabusele plays in the same league--but his team went 6-28 compared to Chalon's 22-12. For all his losses, Yabusele averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 29 minutes a game. Isaia Cornier, who went to Atlanta with the 45th pick, plays in the lower French league. Michineau (who's name is still being autocorrected this late in the article) played only 13.6 minutes a game, scoring 5.7 points and posting 1.5 assists and .9 rebounds.
Michineau may have played himself into getting drafted in this summer's Eurocamp, where his athleticism and ability to change speeds with the ball was on display. DraftExpress also credited him as an outstanding defender with quick feet, though his wingspan probably means he can only defend point guards. His shot is where it gets a little more interesting--I'll direct quote the DraftExpress report:
Michineau's jumper is clearly a work in progress judging by his unwillingness to take too many outside shots here in Treviso, and his career 28% accuracy from beyond the arc, but he did show some surprising potential in the morning drills. He knocked down a very high percentage of his catch and shoot jumpers from beyond the NBA line, demonstrating good form in the process, as it's been clear he's been working on this part of his game in his free time. This still hasn't quite translated to game settings yet, but it may be something he can continue to work on as his career progresses.
That sounds... promising, right? I mean, about as promising as you can hope for from a guy with his poor record as a shooter. If he's hitting a high percentage of catch-and-shoot NBA threes in drills, the ability is at least there, even if it takes him a while to become comfortable shooting anything but the most open shots at a higher level.
Aside from his shooting, his main weakness seems to be his point guard skills--limiting turnovers, running a team, controlling tempo. But he's incredibly fast, sparking fast breaks and getting out in transition. Remind anyone of Jared Cunningham?
NBADraft.net echoes the same sentiments--Michineau has legitimate NBA-level athleticism, but he doesn't have a true point guard's game with a controlled handle and advanced vision. They say that he's a likely undrafted player, but could have a shot in what they call the "draft and forget 'em" range from 50-60. Hardly an endorsement for the 39th overall pick, who Doc Rivers has said will join the roster next year.
Every year, there are guys that everyone loves who wash out of the league, and there are always surprises who excel. Sometimes, teams take big gambles and look like geniuses, and sometimes the moves are laughed at for years after. The good news is that typically everyone will remember when you hit a home run on an unknown international guy in the second round (Manu, anyone?), but they rarely remember the misses, just because there's so many of them.
I can't sit here and pretend like missing on Demetrius Jackson for a French dude we don't know is the greatest travesty of all time. If I were in the war room, would I have taken Jackson? Yeah. But I haven't seen the workouts or the film, and the guys who have chose Michineau. I'll dwell on this pick in a few years, if one of the guys I liked breaks out and Michineau doesn't stick in the league, but I won't dwell on it now before we know what's going to happen. I'm just happy that we should get an opportunity to see his game in the Orlando Summer League next month.