According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Clippers are among several teams who are working to get into the top 4 of the NBA Draft with hopes of selecting Josh Jackson, a 20-year-old 6’8” small forward from Kansas. Jackson averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks in his only collegiate season, shooting 54.9% from the field and 37.8% from deep. While still obviously young, the consensus top-5 pick is somewhat old for a college freshman and he will turn 21 during January of his rookie season.
Per Shelburne, DeAndre Jordan is could be the piece that the Celtics ask for in exchange for the third overall pick. The Spurs and Bulls are also interested, with valuable established veterans in LaMarcus Aldridge and Jimmy Butler.
Fascinating machinations around Josh Jackson today. Loads of teams trying to trade into the top 4 to get him.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 22, 2017
Celtics know this, and thus have to decide whether to take a player who wouldn't workout or interview even when they had the 1 pick.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 22, 2017
Clippers, Spurs, Bulls all have interest in him and big name veteran players (DeAndre, LaMarcus, Jimmy) who would really help Boston.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 22, 2017
This comes as somewhat of a surprise, as previous reports had suggested that the Clippers were targeting a top pick to re-package for Paul George, not to select a prospect for themselves. Josh Jackson is a strong prospect who projects very well as an NBA small forward, which the Clippers have needed for years. However, a potential decision to keep Jackson over pursuing a more established name would raise compelling questions regarding the direction of the Clippers’ franchise as they head towards Chris Paul and Blake Griffin’s looming free agencies.