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NBA Draft 2016: NCAA Big Men for the Clippers to Consider (Part 3)

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The Clippers' range of the draft is full of centers who could be possible depth selections with either pick 25 or 33.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

In the weeks leading up to the draft, we're going to look at a ton of possible selections.  Today, we'll look at some more NCAA big men, after already covering Damian Jones, Cheick Diallo, Brice Johnson, Diamond Stone, Stephen Zimmerman, and A.J. Hammons in other posts.

With Cole Aldrich prone to leave in free agency, and the Clippers lacking center depth aside from D-League call-ups, this could be a great opportunity for them to find a short-term band-aid or long-term project at backup C.  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.

Chinanu Onuaku

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 38 38 Not 1st Round Not top 45 Not 1st Round Not 1st Round

Onuaku made a last-minute decision to stay in the draft, waiting until the last day to announce his intent.  With DraftExpress projecting him at 38, it might have been a wise move.  It's likely that he heard good things from teams that he held early workouts with, as teams could have either promised to select him or just given him good feedback.  The 19-year old sophomore measured at 6'10" in shoes at the combine with a 7'2.75" wingspan.  He had two effective outings at the NBA Combine which DraftExpress reports boosted his draft stock.

Overall, he seems to not be much more than a solid interior center, but if he can continue to pair his size and strength with consistent effort and continue his decent inside finishing, he should be a roster-level player in the NBA, possibly a rotation-level one.  He's definitely limited to a in-the-paint center, but at 33, that isn't the worst thing in the world to come away with.  I'd have him on the board, but probably end up going a different direction.

Robert Carter

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 44 44 Not 1st Round 41 Not 1st Round Not 1st Round

Undersized for an NBA big man and a bit of a reach at 33, Carter would likely only end up a Clippers target if they think very highly of him, or if through trades they end up with a pick lower in the second round.  Carter projects as somewhat of a stretch big, hitting 33% from deep in college.  However, his combine performance really helped him, according to DraftExpress, and he should definitely be picked in the second round.  He's 6'8.5" in shoes with a 7'3.25" wingspan, leaving him perfectly in the mold of the Draymond Green-style small 4/5 who can do a little bit of everything.

Unfortunately, Draymond has been a very unique player up to this point, and other teams haven't had success trying to find comparable options at center.  In the mid-second round, Carter gives teams a chance to roll the dice and come up with the next Draymond--an undersized but strong big man who can defend, switch screens, rebound, pass, and shoot from deep.  While Carter could be that guy, it might not be the best gamble for the Clippers to take, as there will likely be players available at 33 who have better outlooks as role players within the Clippers' current scheme.

Prince Ibeh

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 53 53 Not 1st Round 42 Not 1st Round Not 1st Round

Ibeh is another player who would be a little bit of a reach at 33, but could be feasible if the Clippers like him.  However, he's much more of a prototypical big man than Carter, standing at 6'11" in shoes with a 7'5.5" wingspan and a 9'4.5" standing reach.  He averaged just 4.1 points and 5 rebounds in 18 minutes a game for Texas last year, but his physique and shot-blocking abilities project well in the draft--those measurable are spectacular.

DraftExpress compares Ibeh's lack of college production but presence of NBA potential to the Clippers' own DeAndre Jordan, who fell to the second round but is now a max contract player.  Jordan, however, only played one year in the NCAA, while Ibeh has completed a 4-year career and will be 22 years old on draft night.  O'Connor's notes reflect a similar comparison, citing him as a screener and finisher offensively but an incredibly versatile and effective defender.  Ibeh also doesn't have some of the other intangible skills that DeAndre possesses with his lack elite communication or surprisingly deft passing.

If Prince is comparable to young DeAndre Jordan, he's not a bad gamble in the mid-second round.  It's important to remember, however, that it took DJ a while to reach his current level of play, and Ibeh might not be playable as a rookie while he adjusts to the pace and physicality of being a center in the NBA.  The best-case scenario would be serviceability as a not-too-bad backup mirroring DJ's style.  The worst-case scenario, as with any second-round pick, is that he'll never really become a capable NBA player.