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Clippers Draft 2016: A Look at Diamond Stone

The Clippers traded down from 33 to 39 and 40, and selected Diamond Stone at 40. Stone was a freshman center at Maryland, and the Clippers obviously must have liked him quite a bit. Who is he, and what talents will he provide for the Clippers?

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Age: 19

Size: 6'11, 255 pounds

College: Maryland

College Stats: 23.5 minutes, 12.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. Averaged only 0.4 assists to 1.5 turnovers, and had 0.5 steals per game as well. Shot 56.8% from the field and 76.1% from the line on 3.8 free throw attempts a game.

Style of Play: Diamond Stone is an old school type center. He has a massive body, likes to get the ball down in the post, and has moves for days. Think Al Jefferson (though obviously not quite that skilled). Like Big Al, he isn't a good passer out of the post, and is in fact somewhat of a black hole. Despite his size, he isn't great at backing players down, though he should still fill out some over the next couple years and improve his strength. On the pick and roll, he has pretty good hands and can make decent runs at the rim. Stone isn't exactly a rolling god like DeAndre Jordan, but he is effective enough powering to the hoop, and with NBA point guards feeding him he should be able to score decently off the roll. He has the ability to take some short and midrange shots out to around 12 feet, but he wasn't prolific at all on them in his lone year at Maryland. On the other hand, his 76% free throw shooting (on a decent number of attempts) shows that his touch and range is there, though he will have to work on a quicker release and just get more comfortable taking jumpers in general.

On defense, Stone is big enough and athletic enough to block some shots, but he isn't particularly quick or an explosive leaper, so there is a limit to what he can do on that end. In college, he really struggled at hedging/stepping out on pick and rolls, as he didn't position himself well and got blown by frequently. His defensive rebounding was also poor, which could again speak to his poor positioning and lack of explosiveness. On the other hand, weaknesses such as focus while defending off ball and positioning for rebounds can be improved on. Once Stone gets his feet wet in the NBA he should be able to adapt and get somewhat better on the defensive end, though he will never be an adept pick and roll coverage player like Tristan Thompson or Draymond Green. His post defense, on the other hand, should be at least acceptable fairly early on, though there just aren't that many big men who are post threats any more.

What Stone will Bring to Clips in Rookie Year: Stone will be able to score in the NBA, in the post at least, right away. Depending on who the opposing team has out guarding him, he might even be a 2nd option, because he really can score in the paint. The issues for Stone are mostly on the defensive end. NBA guards will attack him frequently via pick and rolls, and he just won't have the knowledge or athleticism to stop them. Because of this, it's hard to see him getting significant minutes his rookie year. Spot minutes against weak defenses or 2nd units who can't punish him? Yeah, sure. But he would not stand a chance against any of the better benches in the NBA.

Down the Line Potential: Stone isn't an above average athlete in the NBA, so he almost certainly isn't going to turn into a dominant player on either end of the floor. However, if he works on his focus, and rebounding, and jumpshot, he could very well become a solid rotation player in a few years. This was certainly not a bad pick by Doc, just an odd one, in that he doesn't help much this year and is mostly blocked for minutes anyway.

My Grade for the Pick: B- . I thought there were better players available in addition to prospects who fit the Clippers in a more immediate sense: Demetrius Jackson, Kay Felder, and Gary Payton II at point guard, and Jake Layman and Michael Gbinije on the wings. If they had stayed at 33, two very good wings in Patrick McCaw and Malcolm Brogdon would have been available as well. Still, I think Stone as a solid shot to be a good NBA player, and that's all that can really be asked for with the 40th pick in the draft.