5 draft prospects that could be available for the LA Clippers

Tyronn Lue, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Tyronn Lue, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

As Clippers fans everywhere say farewell to another season of falling short of the end goal, we now look forward to the future. The draft is approaching fast, and though our own first round picks will be within someone else’s clutches for the next few drafts, we can find comfort in having ownership over the Buck’s first round pick (no. 30) and our own second rounder (no. 48).

The greatest teams are ones that find good value in the draft, not necessarily ones teams who pick the highest. The draft is seen by some as throwing darts blindly into the abyss, hoping to stumble into a game changing player or just a solid rotation contributor.

There is talent deep into this draft, so let’s see which prospects could be available when the LA Clippers turn on the clock. Some of these prospects may seem out of reach for the Clippers, and others may be a reach too far. Regardless, these are five guys the Clippers’ front office may take a chance on with either of their picks.

5. Trayce Jackson-Davis (6’9, 225 lbs), Indiana (no. 38 prospect, per ESPN)

Trayce Jackson-Davis is a big who has the potential to become a superstar for the LA Clippers. Coming out of high school he was a 4-star, top 30 recruit on most sites. Following his senior year, Jackson-Davis built a name for himself since his freshman season. This past year he was a consensus First-Team All-Big-Ten, First-Team All-American, and winner of the Karl Malone Award, given to the top collegiate power forward. He is a decorated veteran of the college level who led his team in scoring and rebounding in each of his last 4 seasons. In addition, he led his squad in assists this past season.

Jackson-Davis’ style could be considered old-school by some, as he has mostly been a player that finds his offense down in the low post. He was a very efficient scorer in this area, displaying a soft touch around the basket on hook shots and drives to the rim. Though his offensive responsibility will look different in the NBA, his ability to seal off defenders and get easy shots for himself is a skill that will definitely help him at the next level.

This past season he also showed comfort handling the ball and playmaking for his teammates. He initiated several dribble-hand-offs for Indiana and found open shooters when he had the ball in the high post.

The Clippers could use a solid, high-iq big like Jackson-Davis to come in and be a rim threat while also playing within the flow of an offense. He has also proven to be a very capable lob/roll threat, averaging 2+ dunks per game last season and using his leaping ability to be a constant threat on the move. He is versatile enough to switch across positions and use his length to muck up possessions. He brings an athleticism and rim pressure that the Clippers could surely use right now as they continue building towards a championship team.

Leonard Miller (6’10, 213 lbs), G-League Ignite (no. 23 prospect, per ESPN)

It’s likely that Leonard Miller will not make it to the LA Clippers’ first pick, but the draft is full of surprises. Miller was a 4-star, top 30 recruit coming out of high school. He visited Arizona and Kentucky before deciding to take the G-League route.

As a teenager playing against pros, Miller was efficient and effective against G-League competition, averaging 18 points per game (2nd on team) and 11 rebounds (1st on team) while shooting 55.4% from the field (32.7% from 3). While being a productive player, he also showed a unique skill set for a big man that raises his potential ceiling.

Clipper fans should be high on Miller as he is a lotter talent. His handle at 6’10 along with his motor and finishing in the paint combine for an exciting outlook on his future. Though he was a mediocre three point shooter this season, he shot well enough from the free throw line and in the mid-range to show he has the touch to develop into a decent outside scorer.

These offensive qualities are complimented by his length and sturdy frame that allow him to be a versatile weapon on defense. He may be more of a project than some Clippers stakeholders are comfortable with at this stage, but Miller is a solid player that could develop into something special.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. (6’6, 226), UCLA (no. 30 prospect, per ESPN)

Jaime Jaquez Jr. is another guy that the LA Clippers will have their eyes on. A 4-year starter for UCLA, Jaquez earned Second-Team All-American honors this past year and led his team in scoring and rebounding.

Another old-school type of player, Jaquez uses a combination of high-level footwork, mid range shooting, and smart passing to dominate the competition. He plays at his own pace and dissects defenses with his skill.

Though he was a below average outside shooter, his touch at the line and on floaters could translate very well to the NBA. Having a guy that can score anywhere inside the arc with a high skill level for passing could be a nice addition into the Clippers’ offensive gameplan.

Julian Phillips (6’7, 197 lbs), Tennessee (no. 34 prospect, per ESPN)

Julian Phillips, a one-and-done out of Tennessee, could be at the top of the charts for the LA Clippers. During his lone season at Tennessee, he averaged 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds while starting 25 out of 32 games.

Phillips’ main role for Tennessee was as a cutter and screener, where he showed flashes of his skills as a physical inside presence. He also came to light as a facilitator in the high post and a fierce downhill driver. Though he wasn’t too efficient in his first year as a scorer, his potential shined through and the swing could be worth it for the LA Clippers.

Not to mention he shot well from the free throw line. This could provide hope in his mid-range jumposhot, as he is a project that may take some time. Phillips also brings hustle on both ends and his size makes him a weapon to throw at opposing offenses.

In theory, Phillips could play a similar role to what Montrezl Harrell was for the Clippers. This lines up with his energy, ability to handle the rock, and IQ when the lights are brightest. His attack-mode play style would add an interesting element to a team full of wings and shooters.

Sidy Cissoko (6’6, 224 lbs), G-League Ignite (no. 40 prospect, per ESPN)

Sidy Cissoko, a big guard from France, is another prospect who could be on the LA Clippers’ radar. He has a great feel for the game and shows off his creativity in a variety of ways. There were several times this past year when Cissoko had the ball in traffic and maintained his dribble, getting to the rim with a combination of force and finesse. He made the most of his opportunities, scoring and passing at a productive level despite being second-to-last on the team in usage rate.

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On defense, he plays with high energy and is locked in on and off the ball. He is a good finisher at the rim and finds open perimeter players when the defense collapses on him. Cissoko doesn’t project to be a great shooter, but his skills as a driver, handler, passer, and defender would give the Clippers more than enough to work with in terms of contributing to winning basketball.