NBA Draft: 13 times the LA Clippers left stars on the board

LA Clippers NBA Draft Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
LA Clippers NBA Draft Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 14
Pascal Siakam
Pascal Siakam (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

1. 2016 NBA Draft

Clippers Select: Bryce Johnson (25)

Still on the Board: Pascal Siakam (27)

Finding stars late in the first round of the NBA Draft is a special skill. Some teams, like the San Antonio Spurs seem to have it down to an art and consistently find strong contributing players and stars later in the draft.

The Toronto Raptors have recently showed an aptitude for this as well, finding a gem in Pascal Siakam just two picks after the Clippers selected Bryce Johnson in 2016.

Siakam has blossomed into a bonafide star in his four seasons in the NBA. The six-foot-nine forward was named Most Improved Player for the 2018-19 season (in which he played a vital role in the Raptors’ championship run.) He was named to his first All-Star team this season and has lead the Raptors to a 46-18 record (good for second place in the Eastern Conference). This is a somewhat unexpected and impressive run for a team that lost their best player (Kawhi Leonard) in free agency (to the Clippers) in the offseason following their title.

The hole left by Leonard’s departure to Los Angeles was filled quite nicely by the rising star Siakam. He’s averaging career-best 23.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while playing 35.5 minutes a night, the most he’s averaged in his young career. He’s become more of a focal-point for the Raptors offense, as his Usage Rate ballooned to 28.5 percent this season, and has certainly not disappointed with the extra opportunities.

Johnson hasn’t seen anywhere near the type of success in his short career. He only saw action in three games during his rookie campaign, and nine more as a Clipper in his second season before being traded to the Detroit Pistons as part of the Blake Griffin deal. Just a few days later, he was dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies, where he saw action in nine games before being waved by the team on March 27, 2018.