2015 NBA Draft: Breaking down the Clippers’ top targets

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Apr 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard/forward Branden Dawson (22) goes up for a shot defended by Duke Blue Devils center Jahlil Okafor (15) and Tyus Jones (5) in the first half of the 2015 NCAA Men

Power forward Branden Dawson of Michigan State

Dawson may be considered somewhat undersized as a power forward due to his 6’6″ frame. But he’s sturdily built at 230 lbs and his elite athleticism enabled him to become a frightening rebounder and defender. And if taller bigs think they can finish over the top of him, they can easily be made to look foolish when he explodes to the rim with his 34.5 inch vertical to force them back.

And then there’s his speed.

Dawson is as fast and agile as you could want a power forward to be, and he uses his aggressive mindset to constantly make plays inside — by either out-rebouding men with far more size at both ends of the floor, or by flying around the court to protect the rim or cover guards on the perimeter. Furthermore, that speed makes him a terror in transition, and allows him to execute plays like this:

Here’s an extract from my earlier analysis of Dawson (which you can read in full here), highlighting some of the key statistics that indicate why he’s such a worthwhile target for the Clippers in the 2015 NBA draft:

“He’s an excellent hustle player, and the athletic rejections and transition plays he makes can’t even be dreamed of with Glen Davis on the floor.

This season, in the Big Ten Conference, he finished 1st in total offensive rebounds (102), 1st in rebounds per game (9.1), 1st in total rebound percentage (17.9), 4th in blocks per game (1.7), 2nd in defensive win shares (2.5) and 1st in defensive rating (91.1).

Simply put, he was one of the best — if not the best — in every major rebounding and defensive category. That’s pretty impressive for a player who some could wrongly disregard for being ‘too small’.”