Clippers: 5 big names who could fall to L.A. in 2016 NBA Draft

Mar 18, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine (45) looks to pass around Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders forward Reggie Upshaw (30) during the first half of the first round in the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine (45) looks to pass around Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders forward Reggie Upshaw (30) during the first half of the first round in the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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March 8, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Domantas Sabonis (11) celebrates against the Saint Mary’s Gaels during the first half in the finals of the women’s West Coast Conference tournament at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
March 8, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Domantas Sabonis (11) celebrates against the Saint Mary’s Gaels during the first half in the finals of the women’s West Coast Conference tournament at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Gonzaga

If the Clippers hit the jackpot and land an experienced, skilful, bruising big man in the first round, Domantas Sabonis is probably the top player they could hope for. Yes, a wing should still be the priority, but Sabonis has enough intrigue to possibly shift Doc’s focus away from a two or three and make the most of his chance by taking the exciting combo big.

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Sabonis is highly skilled on the low block, using his soft touch near the rim to utilize his up-and-under moves and hook shots, working around more athletic opponents with skill and crisp footwork. He averaged 17.6 points per game on an exceptional 61.1 field goal percentage last season, and while he doesn’t have a great deal of range yet, his shot mechanics should lead to a smooth, expanding mid-range as his career progresses.

At the other end of the floor, Sabonis isn’t a great defender, possessing limited rim protection (0.9 blocks per game) and speed to cover opponents away from the basket. Nevertheless, he works hard and can at least be a reasonable team defender, plus his average of 11.8 rebounds per game would clearly be beneficial to the Clippers whenever he gets on the floor.

As of right now, though, to show his interest in certain franchises and to avoid everyone getting a look at his game in thrilling workouts against chairs for competition, Sabonis will only work out for four teams.

Sabonis is here as more of a hopeful pickup for the Clippers. If they trade up, though, the late to mid teens is a definite possibility if Doc surprises us by taking a big before a wing in this draft.

Next: Valentine to L.A. could happen