After picking up Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell in the second round of the draft, the Clippers continued to make moves, signing power forward Isaiah Hicks of North Carolina to a training camp deal. Hicks was ranked 60th on Draft Express’ top 100 prospect list, making him a borderline second round pick.
Hicks is a traditional power forward, solidly built at 6’8’’ and 230 pounds. He plays more like an old-school “4” as well, hitting the offensive glass hard and scoring around the basket. Hicks has a nice touch on his short-range shots near the rim, though his game is more effective than flashy. That touch also translates to his free throw shooting (over 75% in his last two seasons), which is a good sign for his ability to move his offensive game outside. Right now, however, he has a limited jumpshot and mostly sticks to the paint.
Hicks is athletic, which helps him get offensive boards and finish near the hoop. That athleticism also helps him defensively, as he is quick around the perimeter, capable of sticking with smaller players (for shorter stretches, anyway). He’s not huge, and bigger players might overwhelm him in the post, but NBA players of that back-to-the-basket type are diminishing in number every year.
Hicks is almost 23, and has considerable college experience at the absolute highest level, being a key contributor for the Tarheels in both the 2016 season (runner-up) and 2017 (title winners). He was huge in the championship game against Gonzaga, scoring 13 points, pulling down 9 boards, and blocking 2 shots. That came against NBA (or at least professional) caliber opposition, which bodes well for his translation to league play.
Hicks has to improve his jumpshot and rebounding if he is to have a lengthy NBA career, but his energy and athleticism could help him carve out a role even so. The Clippers must like him a bit considering they jumped on him so soon after the draft, though right now he’s probably only signed to a training camp deal. We will have updates on his status as more news comes in.
North Carolina G Isaiah Hicks signing with the Clippers, per source.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) June 23, 2017