Here’s my two cents on some more guys the Clippers have had in for workouts in advance of next week’s draft.
Patrick Patterson, F, Kentucky- Patterson was a great college player who will likely be a very solid pro. He can score, defend and hustle, all of which would help the Clippers – if they didn’t have Blake Griffin waiting to get the bulk of the minutes at the four spot. Patterson will likely be a solid player who would definitely benefit from playing alongside Chris Kaman, but to draft someone at 8, you have to hope they’re going to be a starter by at least year two and that won’t happen with Patterson.
Luke Babbit, F, Nevada- NBADraft.net has the Clippers taking him with the 8th pick. I worry about that because the one time I saw Babbit play, I couldn’t shake the Adam Morrison comparisons. Babbit is more intense than Morrison ever was but still seems to be more of a scorer who was prolific playing against questionable competition. In my opinion, the 8th pick would be far too much of a reach for the Clippers to take Babbit.
Jerome Randle, PG, Cal- Being a Pac 10 guy, I saw a lot of Randle this year. He is the school’s all-time leading scorer, free-throw shooter and is second in career assists. Randle is lightning quick with a great stroke and who looks to pass first. Randle should be available in the second half of the second round and would be a nice addition to the Clippers.
Avery Bradley, SG, Texas- Bradley is an incredible athlete with a nice stroke, an obvious want to play defense and he can fly up and down the court. His problem is going to be that he’s a 6’3″ shooting guard who didn’t display an ability to be a competent distributor in his one year at Texas. Pairing him with Baron Davis and/or Eric Gordon would create matchup nightmares for teams with bigger shooting guards on both sides. Likely to be available at 8, I think the Clippers would be wise to pass despite his obvious talent.
Eric Bledsoe, PG, Kentucky- As I mentioned previously in this space, Bledsoe is a super-talented basketball player more than he is a true point guard at this stage in his life. Probably the biggest high-risk/high-reward player in this draft, Bledsoe would benefit from the tutelage of Baron Davis if taken by the Clippers at 8, though I think that would be too big a reach for the team. A better fit for Bledsoe’s development would be the Spurs with the 20th pick and, in terms of putting him on the floor with similarly skilled athletes, it would be scary to see him land with the Hawks with the 24th pick.
Ekpe Udoh, PF, Baylor – Udoh is a lean 6’10″ who just turned 23, hinting that he may not be able to add the bulk necessary for him to succeed in the NBA. Comparisons to Marcus Camby have been tossed out, as his shot-blocking skill is the only thing about his game reminiscent of Camby’s. He does show an ability to get up and down the court but he also misses a lot of contested shots. Not likely to be on the Clippers’ radar for the 8th pick and will be long gone by the 54th pick.
Terrico White, G, Ole Miss- White was the SEC Freshman of the year two seasons ago and was on the Under-19 National Team last summer, earning a gold medal in the FIBA World Championships. All this makes me think he’s a guy with a spectacular upside who’s draft fate will hinge on his workouts. ESPN’s Chade Ford has him going to the Nets at 27 and if that happens, Avery Johnson will be getting a talented project who won’t have to play right away. Based on this projection, I’d say it’s impossible he’ll be a Clipper, as they’re not going to reach and take him at 8 and he won’t be around at 54.
Landon Milbourne, F, Maryland – The senior played the three and four at Maryland for Gary Williams and reportedly picked up a bit of his coach’s well-known intensity. That’s something that may help him make a roster next year, as he is likely a late second-round pick if he’s drafted at all. Dad played pro in Europe, a fate that seems likely for Landon as well.
Latavious Williams, F, D-League – Williams is a freak athlete who went straight to the D-League after high school. His upside will get him drafted and he figures to be around when the Clippers make their second pick at number 54. At 6’8″ 205, he’s a little small to play inside and supposedly lacks the handle to play on the perimeter full time.
Jeremy Wise, G, D-League- Played the two spot at Southern Miss and had a lot of success, earning Newcomer of the Year award as a frosh and second-team all-league as a sophmore. At 6’1″, 165 he’s going to play point in the pros and will likely need an overly impressive stint in summer league this summer to get a tryout, let alone make a roster next season.
Marcus Johnson, G, USC- Johnson is a big guy who’s best known as a strong perimter defender with a sub-par offensive game. Never got a lot of minutes at UConn, so he transfered to USC and couldn’t get on the court much there either. Johnson is a poor shooter whose percentage got lower each year in college and whose career free throw percentage peaked at 51%. Another guy who will likely need summer league to find an interested team.
Ishmael Smith, G, Wake Forest- A successful player for all four years at Wake, Smith is a small (5’11″, 155) guy who uses his (lack of) size and quickness to his advantage to gain alternative passing lanes. With that said, it’s the fact that he is a terrible shooter that will cause him to go undrafted. Likely destined for the D-League next year, Smith should at least get some run in a summer league.
Armon Bassett, G, Ohio- Bassett was the key to Ohio’s NCAA tournament run and win this spring. He’s a shooter, knocking down about 40% of his career 3-point attempts (including 5-of-10 against Georgetown in Ohio’s upset win). Originally went to Indiana under coach Kelvin Sampson but was dismissed from the team for missing meetings in the wake of Sampson’s firing. It’s always nice to have guys who can shoot and Bassett should be around when the Clippers select at 54.
Tags: Armon Bassett Avery Bradley Ekpe Udoh Eric Bledsoe Ishmael Smith Jeremy Wise Jerome Randle Kelvin Sampson Landon Milbourne Latavious Williams Luke Babbit Marcus Johnson NBA Draft Patrick Patterson Terrico White