Clippers 2015 NBA Draft targets: Saint Mary’s PF Brad Waldow


The Los Angeles Clippers continue to work out prospects for the 2015 NBA draft, and if they want a chance of competing in the playoffs next season it’s the right move. Because they need players to deepen the bottom of their rotation so that Chris Paul and Blake Griffin don’t have to shoulder so much of the load.

More importantly, their bench needs to be able to actually hold onto a lead.

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As of this moment, we can’t be sure whether or not the Clippers will even be able to trade for a second round draft pick. However, if they aren’t able to participate in the festivities of draft night, they can still target any undrafted free agents. Which, judging by their interest in this year’s draft, appears to be something they’re willing to do.

They’ve worked out well over 20 prospects now, including another 12 last Wednesday. One of which was the 2014-15 All-West Coast Conference first team forward, Brad Waldow of St Mary’s.

Other than the fact he has a great name (hopefully “where’s Waldow?” “He’s getting buckets” will catch on if he makes the NBA) he has a skill set that could certainly help the Clippers. Waldow was the main man with St Mary’s and even finished this year at 5th in the West Coast Conference in usage percentage (29.5). And as a result of his large playing time (1st in the WCC with 34.5 minutes per game) and importance to his offense, Waldow has developed as a talented big man.

More than anything, that talent comes as a scorer.

Before even addressing his excellent efficiency, the sheer volume of Waldow’s scoring this year separates him from so many other rookie prospects. Especially those not considered to be first-round-worthy. His 19 points per game this season were good enough for 2nd in the WCC, and combined with his Conference leading field goal percentage of 55.8, he was able to finish ranked 8th in offensive rating with 118.2.

Waldow can also get to the free throw line when opponents fail to guard him in the post and end up fouling (he had 5.9 attempts from the charity stripe last year) and, from time to time, he’s surprisingly quick at breaking out in transition. Yet the main source of his offensive impact comes through his low-post moves.

And more often that not, it’s his trusty hook shot that’s doing the damage.

Waldow uses his strong, 6’10”, 260 lbs frame to force defenders back to create space, and with his soft touch near the basket his hook shot has become extremely reliable. It helped him lead the WCC in two point field goals last year with 235, and whilst he may not be able to use it with such effectiveness against the tougher post defenders of the NBA, he can still pose a threat.

Whereas Glen Davis and Spencer Hawes generally do nothing more than slow their teammates down. Big Baby lowered the Clippers’ offensive rating by 18.5 points per 100 possessions whenever he was in the game this season, and Hawes was hardly much better with an impact of -12.

Davis can be moderately effective with his short range jumper (45.1 percent from 3-10 feet out, but he’s no better than 22 percent from any further distance) and Hawes — whose main purpose on offense is to space the floor and shoot threes — made a mere 31.3 percent of his shots from behind the arc.

And considering that’s 13 percent lower than the previous year, he’s not exactly been the stretch big man that the Clippers want him to be.

Waldow doesn’t excel in that area either, though, but it’s not that much of a problem. Because whilst Davis and Hawes lack efficiency, Waldow was so effective in the post last year that he even finished 4th in the WCC in effective field goal percentage (55.8). Not to mention he also had the second highest player efficiency rating in the entire Conference (27.9).

And then there’s his rebounding.

Neither Davis or Hawes had a total rebound percentage of more than 11.4 this year, which isn’t even half the percentage of their dominant teammate DeAndre Jordan. Waldow, on the other hand, was third in the WCC with an overall rebound percentage of 16.6. He averaged 9.1 rebounds a game, and even though he isn’t the best post defender — as he lacks the quickness and explosiveness to elevate to protect the rims at times, shown by an average of only 0.7 blocks per game — he can still clear the boards and box out effectively.

Again, the NBA is obviously a big step up from college, but he’s still shown he can crash the boards with a greater sense of urgency and effort than we see at times from Davis and Hawes (especially the latter).

So, now that he’s already done a work out for the Clippers, is Brad Waldow worth much more attention?

As someone who’s used to being the go-to scorer, he could be a reasonable offensive option for the Clippers when defenders are devoting all their attention to Blake Griffin in the post. Waldow offers a low-post option that may be more reliable than the offensive plague that is Big Baby or the slumping Spencer Hawes as well, but the Clippers are still in more need of defense, toughness and rebounding from their bench.

That’s the problem with Waldow. His primary talent is as a low-post scorer and staple of an offense. Which is why he may not be the best option for the Clippers right now — even if he’s awfully talented for a player who may well go undrafted (as three mock drafts by CBSSports have predicted).

Apr 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen (3) has his shot blocked by Michigan State Spartans guard/forward Branden Dawson (22) in the first half of the 2015 NCAA Men

This is where a power forward like Branden Dawson of Michigan State looks like an excellent option.

Dawson can be deemed somewhat undersized for a power forward at 6’6″, but his elite athleticism and powerful 230 lbs frame have given him the tools to become an imposing defender. He even led the Big Ten in rebounds per game (9.1) and defensive rating (91.1) this season.

For a fully detailed analysis of Dawson’s potential fit with the Clippers, read here. Although when comparing him to Waldow, it makes more sense that the Clippers improve their weaknesses — defense (15th in defensive efficiency) and rebounding (17th in rebounding rate).

Dawson would address both of those weaknesses with the kind of speed and athleticism that fits L.A.’s fast-paced style so well. And seeing as the Clippers were already able to have the league’s most efficient offense this year, an athletic hustle player like Dawson would be far more suitable.

Next: 2015 NBA Draft: Is Branden Dawson a great fit for Clippers?