The Clippers are all but assured of making the playoffs this season and are essentially just vying for seeding, which means they will convey their first-round pick to the Boston Celtics this season, completing their obligation for acquiring Jeff Green at the 2016 trade deadline.
LA still has its own second-round pick, as well what will likely be Portland’s second-round pick courtesy of the Blake Griffin trade. Both of those selections will be in the back half of the second round, which considerably depresses our interest in this upcoming draft.
That means as the NCAA Tournament starts, there isn’t necessarily a lot of scouting to be done for next year’s Clippers, so we’ll turn our focus elsewhere. Arguably the most staunch advocates of their alma maters — Tobias Harris and Mike Scott — are no longer in Los Angeles, but there are plenty of rooting interests for this year’s team.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander / Kentucky
SGA made a name for himself in the second half of his lone season at Kentucky, capped off with a couple of truly excellent performances during the first weekend of the tournament. His Wildcats, led by former teammate PJ Washington and another class of super freshmen, had a stronger season this year, and earned a no. 2 seed in the Midwest Regional. They currently have 12-to-1 odds to cut down the nets in Minneapolis.
Kentucky starts its postseason today at 4:10 p.m. on CBS against the Wildcats of Abilene Christian. Only six no. 2 seeds have ever lost in the first round, so Kentucky will likely also play Saturday against the winner of Wofford and Seton Hall, which is where two-way player Angel Delgado spent four years.
Garrett Temple / LSU
Kentucky might have the strongest odds of any team in the Clippers locker room, but the Wildcats didn’t win the SEC this year. That honor went to LSU, alma mater of Garrett Temple. Temple might be one of the more measured Tigers fans on the Internet, judging by his celebration of LSU’s win over Kentucky on Feb. 12. It’s no surprise that LA is relying on a player of Temple’s demeanor for veteran leadership.
BIG WIN by my TIGERS!!!! Them boys are HOOOPPIIIINNNN!!! #GeauxTigers— Garrett Temple (@GTemp17) February 13, 2019
Def was an offensive goaltend though. Too bad they can’t check replay to see if the call was correct, they can only check on the ball getting off on time or not. ♂️ Change the rule #Collegeinstantreply— Garrett Temple (@GTemp17) February 13, 2019
No. 3 seed LSU plays today at 9:40 a.m. on TruTV against no. 14 Yale. The Bulldogs might be the underdog, but they notched their lone NCAA Tournament in school history as a 14-seed in 2016 against Baylor. Incidentally, LA’s other two-way player, fan favorite Johnathan Motley, played at Baylor.
Montrezl Harrell / Louisville
Harrell experienced more NCAA success than any of his teammates, having a won a title at Louisville in 2013 and also advanced to an additional Sweet 16 and Elite 8. He has been slightly displeased with the current Cardinals, mostly since the wheels fell off in a 23-point collapse against Duke on Feb. 13 that seemed to have derailed the season, but they have a chance to get back in his good graces soon. No. 7 Louisville opens the NCAA Tournament against no. 10 Minnesota — who is coached by Harrell’s college coach Rick Pitino’s son Richard — today at 9:15 a.m. on CBS.
Doc Rivers / Marquette and UC Irvine
Don’t forget the most vocal supporter of college basketball left in the locker room — the head coach. Rivers’s son Spencer, the youngest of his four kids, chose to attend UC Irvine to be close to his dad in Los Angeles, and he has become the fourth Rivers of this generation to make the NCAA Tournament after the Anteaters won the Big West Conference. Doc has already said that Irvine will win its first game, which is against Kansas State on Friday at 11:00 a.m on TBS. Alas, the Clippers will be in Cleveland, preventing Doc from watching in person.
Doc Rivers also predicts a big run for his school, Marquette, which plays today at 1:30 p.m. on TBS. The Golden Eagles take on Murray State and Ja Morant, who is widely expected to be a top-3 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.