The 2022 NBA Draft is just over 24 hours away, and the Los Angeles Clippers, who have always seemed to find themselves in the thick of the action, seem more focused on maintaining flexibility for free agency with the few roster spots they do have open this year.
John Hollinger, the senior NBA columnist for The Athletic, recently compiled a mock draft in anticipation for the big day. In it, he speculates that the Clippers would likely sign their draftee to a two-way contract:
The Clippers (43) and Memphis (47) are likely to sign their picks to two-ways if they keep them, and that may restrict which players they select to those who indicate an openness to taking that route.
Despite being linked to a number of prospects over the last few weeks, the Clippers reportedly seem unconvinced that any new players within reach would be ready or able to make an immediate impact on the championship-aspiring roster. The players who would be eager to start their careers in the G League also constrict who Los Angeles could pick.
Currently, the Clippers hold only their own second round pick for this year, which is slotted in at 43rd overall. A reluctance to hand out any guaranteed roster spots seems to be another indication of their willingness to stand pat this year.
The Clippers already have 10 players under contract for next season, with the team option on an 11th player (Ivica Zubac). As they try to flush out the rest of their roster, the Clippers front office is seemingly prioritizing roster flexibility over stashing young talent.
Fan consensus seems to be in running it back as well, with re-signing Nicolas Batum and Isaiah Hartenstein being the two priorities. And, even if fresh talent is what you’re in search of, look no further than Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr., two players the team selected in last year’s second round.
Fans who have yet to see this iteration of the team at full strength ought to be relieved that Lawrence Frank and the front office aren’t rushing into any moves. With how established and well-balanced this team already is, why try to fix something that isn’t broke?