Per today’s article by the Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Clippers are “open” to moving up in the draft, and have some interest in forward Michael Porter Jr., in particular. The Clippers have the 12th and 13th picks in the draft as well as other assets that could net them a higher pick, and this is not the first time that they’ve been rumored to want to move up.
Porter Jr. was one of the top high school prospects in the class of 2017, but had an injury-riddled season for Missouri, leaving just a few minutes into his first game, and not returning until the last two games of the season. His injury, herniated discs (in his back), is a really bad one, and frequently returns to plague players again even years after their surgery. Even before the injury, there were question marks about Porter’s defense and playmaking, but now, the biggest doubt is definitely whether he will return to his full level of athleticism, and if he can stay healthy for multiple, long NBA seasons.
If Porter can reach the heights he showed in college, and is able to stay on the court, he could undoubtedly be one of the steals of the draft. But he is also a tremendous risk. If the Clippers truly would move up for him, they would have to be very confident in his health going forward. It’s a trade that would truly take guts to make.
There’s also a strong possibility that the Clippers would move up for players outside of Porter Jr., or even that the interest in him is a potential smokescreen. The draft in particular is a time to be wary of everything you hear around players and teams, but O’Connor is a legit source, and the Clippers have been mentioned as a candidate to move up in the draft before.
We will have more on the Clippers as they start to conduct private workouts and interviews, but for now, stay tuned for my follow-up article to my piece on college big men (the next topic is wing players) and Lucas’ big picture offseason series.