In my futile efforts to compile an intelligent mock draft, I’ve been reading up on some of the players the Clippers have brought in for workouts and have tried to see if they’re actual candidates to be taken with the 8th or 54th picks in next month’s draft or if the rudderless ship that is the Clippers’ management is just continuing to do the one thing they do best: throw away money (this time on workout costs).
Regardless, here’s a quick rundown on the players the team has worked out with a comment or two on the likelihood of each player being taken by the Clippers.
Scottie Reynolds, PG, Villanova – Not a very good shooter, not very athletic but could be a candidate for the 54th pick, as the senior played in some big games in his college career.
Marquez Haynes, PG, UT-Arlington – Haynes is a small school guy who put up 30+ points 7 times, shot nearly 50% from the field and over 44% from 3-point range. This is the type of guy who could sneak into the 2nd round and make a roster. The Clippers would have to consider him at 54.
Lazar Hayward, F, Marquette – Hayward, at 6’6″, is undersized for the 4/5 positions he played in college and is thought to not be athletic enough to play the 3 in the NBA. Even with the 54th pick, I’d be disappointed if the Clippers chose him.
Xavier Henry, G/F, Kansas – Henry is a young player (turned 19 this year) who is all set to have a long, productive NBA career. A 2/3 combo, Henry would be best served to be taken in the second half of the first round, where he could land with a team that could allow him to find his niche before his star takes off. That said, it’d be an interesting pick for the Clippers at the 8 spot due to his athleticism and strong shooting ability.
Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler – Hayward was the media darling of Butler’s Final Four run this spring, as the sophomore showed a good amount of athleticism to match a nice shooting touch. A lot of pundits have gotten lazy and are comparing him to Mike Dunleavy Jr., but Hayward’s ability to rebound and create a shot in traffic make me think of Shawn Marion but with a prettier shot and much less defensive skill (not a priority for a Clipper!). The more I think of it, the more I think Hayward could be a great fit for the Clippers in their current state.
Paul George, SF, Fresno State – George is a guy who is climbing up draft boards. His athleticism, good release and all-around statistics are all impressive and have scouts wondering if his production is due to, or in spite of, the fact that he was clearly the best player on his team in college. His numbers last year against teams that made the tournament aren’t as good as his averages, but is that due to increased competition or increased focus on George? Until there’s a definitive answer, he’s a risky lottery pick.
Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall – A 7-foot freshman, Whiteside is actually expected to continue growing, a shocking idea to everyone. He is a raw big man who has more athleticism than similar tall prospects of the past but who has only been playing competitive basketball at a high level for less than 5 years. He’s going to make a team very happy, but it likely won’t be the Clippers, who have DeAndre Jordan filling the role of project big man.
Willie Warren, G, Oklahoma – Warren is a great example of why guys should leave for the NBA while their star is brightest, as he would have likely been taken in the first half of the first round in last year’s draft while now he’s project in the bottom 5 picks of the first round all the way to the middle of the second round in this year’s draft. A good scorer with a pro-ready offensive game, Warren will slide in the draft due to questions of his maturity and how he’ll handle the pressure and fame of the NBA. No shot at getting taken 8th and he should be long gone by 54.