ESPN’s draft guru Chad Ford is back with the eighth rendition of his mock draft. In the last edition, Ford had the Los Angeles Clippers selecting shooting guard Jordan Clarkson, but this time he’s switched his tune, pegging the Clippers to select Michigan big-man Mitch McGary with the 28th overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft.
The Clippers lack a lot of big bodies up front. There’s virtually no real depth behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Had he not injured his back, McGary likely would’ve been a lottery pick this year. If he gets healthy, he provides instant toughness and hustle in the paint.
For some general overview on how draft experts view McGary, here are some rankings across the internet:
- NBA Draft Net 2014 Big Board – 46th overall
- Chad Ford Top 100 – 31st overall
- Basketball Insiders Top 100 Draft Prospects – 28th overall
- Draft Express Top 100 Prospects – 28th overall
- SB Nation Big Board – 32nd overall
- CBS 2014 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings – 35th overall
Prior to returning to Michigan for his sophomore year, McGary was expected to be a lottery talent in last years draft. Of course, the 2013 NBA Draft wasn’t the best draft we’ve seen in years, but it speaks to McGary’s talent more than anything. Following his rookie season, McGary suffered a back injury that ended his year just eight games in, damaging his draft stock for 2014.
Could McGary fit with the Clippers? Of course he can. Chad Ford is right on the mark. Outside of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, the Clippers have no talent in their big man coup. Mitch McGary could easily step into the third big role–if healthy. He’s offensively sound, oft compared to David Lee, and he’d help out in the reserve unit.
The real question is if he can help fill two voids at once. Even with DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin both making leaps as defenders, the Clippers still need defensive personnel to balance the franchise out. Glen Davis wasn’t that guy. Antawn Jamison. Byron Mullens. Hedo Turkoglu. The Clippers shuffled through a bevy of pieces, some signed for dubious reasons, and they failed to find a guy that could make an impact when DAJ or BG sat on the bench. McGary hasn’t shown in college to be that guy.
Fortunately for the Clippers, they’re in a position where taking the best player available doesn’t hurt much. Is he the best fit? Probably not, but there’s no question in regards to pure talent. It’ll be up to the Clippers to decide which matters most when the 28th pick is on the clock.