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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Mar 18, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine (45) motions while guarded by Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders forward Perrin Buford (2) 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) motions while guarded by Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders forward Perrin Buford (2) during the first half of the first round in the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan State

Now, for the cream of the crop in terms of production, skill, and generally being one of the best players in college with a genuine chance of falling all the way to the Clippers. As new mock drafts emerge, workouts increase and reports of health appear, Denzel Valentine‘s draft stock has fallen rather dramatically over the last week or so.

The known issues of his poor defense and lack of elite speed and explosion are well documented, but reports of knee issues have taken his draft stock down as team’s ponder the severity of their effect on his future.

If you check around the internet for various mock drafts, many have him falling well into the twenties.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders has reported Valentine’s situation:

"Word is Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine may have a fairly significant knee issue, so much so that one team sort of compared him to former Indiana Pacers All-Star Danny Granger, who came into the league with a degenerative knee condition and struggled every year to play 82 games. League sources said it’s still likely he will get drafted in the first round, but his stock looks to be a tough one to lock in with so many teams believing his knee will be a problem."

Of course, like any other team, such a knee issue is a concern to the Clippers. However, Valentine’s knees are evaluated and deemed to be a problem that won’t hold him back over his career, he’s the type of player that makes you go with the simple “take the best talent available” mindset.

Because he well and truly falls into that category if he drops into the twenties, which is increasingly being projected as a possibility.

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With 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game last season, Valentine became the only college player since 1993 to average at least 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a season (per Sports Reference).

He’s one of the best passers in college and can operate an offense extremely well, especially as a 6’6″ shooting guard, potentially giving the Clippers an upgraded playmaker and selfless passer to bolster their second unit. On top of that, he rebounds at a terrific rate for his position, plays well off the ball and can create with the odd drive inside, and even shot a scorching-hot 44.4 percent from three last season with 3.4 makes a night. Plus, the fact he increased those numbers from only 28.1 and 0.4, respectively, in his freshman season shows how much he’s expanded his game.

Next: Clippers should pursue trade with Celtics in 2016 NBA Draft

For more analysis of Valentine, click here, but there’s a genuine chance he could fall to the Clippers and come to L.A. if they’re interested.