The LA Clippers can find some gems late in the second round of the NBA Draft.
Wednesday’s NBA Draft offers an abundance of intriguing propositions for a Clippers front office desperate to recover from a tumultuous end to the first chapter of Kawhi Leonard’s reign in Los Angeles.
President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank isn’t one to shrink on draft day, and will be expected to continue his search for a valuable addition to an organization yearning for silverware.
At the top of the Clipper’s agenda will be their selection with the 57th pick of the draft. While owning one of the final picks of the night may be perceived as underwhelming, it affords the Clippers an opportunity to discover a serviceable, dedicated prospect free of the publicity and scrutiny that will follow their lottery-bound colleagues throughout their careers.
So without further ado, here are three players who can inject new blood into a Clippers side harboring Championship aspirations and will have the potential to adopt crucial roles under Coach Tyronn Lue.
LA Clippers prospect #1 – Ashton Hagans (PG, Kentucky)
In the guard-oriented NBA landscape, sophomore point guard Ashton Hagans promises to be a strong fit for a Clippers roster with an embarrassment of offensive riches.
Hagans’ two years in Lexington saw the Georgia native play with the likes of Tyler Herro, PJ Washington, and Tyrese Maxey – all proven scorers oozing confidence at the highest stage of collegiate basketball. On a star-studded roster, Hagans found his role on the starting unit through a respective offensive repertoire and an especially suffocating brand of defense.
The 21-year-old averaged 1.8 steals per outing in his college career, making strong reads and displaying impressive defensive hands to create easy scoring opportunities in the open court. Hagans’ skillset on this side of the floor promises to translate to the NBA game, where defenders are encouraged to ‘read and react’ to the actions and movements of their opponents.
It is with the ball, however, that has made scouts so hesitant about Hagans’ NBA value. Hagans showed no willingness to become a three-point shooter at Kentucky, where he attempted just under two shots from distance per game on a disconcerting 26.5 percent clip. While the five-star recruit exhibited strong slashes to the rim, Hagans’ inefficiencies from beyond the arc have placed him at the bottom of expert mock drafts, where a reputable three-point shot has become a necessity for point guards in the modern NBA.
But perhaps under the tutelage of fellow Georgian Lou Williams, Hagans can finally unlock a perimeter shot that will keep defenders honest. Or maybe with the offensive weapons presently on the roster, Hagans’ shooting woes can even be hidden.
While shooting has rightfully worsened Hagans’ draft stock, his defensive presence is an undisputable attribute that promises to translate immediately to the professional arena and strongly contribute to the blue-collar culture of basketball originally formed under Doc Rivers.
With Reggie Jackson’s looming free agency, Lawrence Frank will be eyeing off a ball-handler who can help fill the 21-minute void that the veteran point guard may leave in Southern California. Only time will tell.