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NBA Draft 2022: Assessing Clippers’ options ahead of Thursday

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The NBA Finals wrapped up less than 24 hours ago, which means the 2022 NBA Draft is right around the corner…literally. By this time next week, more than 60 prospects — 58 picks and some undrafted free agents who are picked shortly after the draft concludes — will have new homes and new opportunities. And while the Los Angeles Clippers may not be recruiting from the most exciting spot on the field — a byproduct of their trade for Paul George (you may have heard of him) in 2019 — they’ve done a lot of due diligence before making the overall pick. number 43 next Thursday night.

The Clips’ lone pick comes midway through the second round. The expectation is that LA will really use the selection to strengthen its ranks and inject more youth into the team.

Now, it remains to be seen whether he is actually at No. 43 or not. They could switch up or down without drastically altering their fate too much, given the typical success rate of second-round picks. However, hidden among the group of second-round players who inevitably fall by the wayside is often a gem. The Clippers hope to pick the brightest of them all.

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So far, the Clippers have reportedly worked with the following players:

Perhaps the only surprise on the list is Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams, who is widely considered a possible first-round pick. Kevin O’Connor’s latest mock draft for the ringer has the Houston Rockets taking Williams with the 17th overall pick; The two most recent CBS Sports mocks have him at picks 19 (Minnesota) and 23 (Philadelphia); ESPN considers Williams a future Chicago Bull, being selected 18th overall.

Williams, needless to say, would probably be a pipe dream. For what it’s worth, he was eager to share that the Clippers figured it out, posting the information on his Instagram story in May. Hey, a chimera is still a dream, right?

For the most part, though, those mock drafts (among others) line up with the Clippers’ coaching history, Williams or not. Kansas guard Christian Braun turns into a Clipper in Kyle Boone’s mock draft for CBS Sports. Meanwhile, ESPN and Hoops Hype see Los Angeles taking a chance on French international Ismael Kamagate.

The most exciting prospect, however, may be Iowa State guard Izaiah Brockington. He shows up as a point guard despite his average distribution ability: just 1.6 assists per game last season; he never averaged more than 1.7 in four years with the Cyclones. However, Brockington improved each season both as a scorer and as a hoop shooter. As his minutes increased from 11.6 to 34.9 per game from his freshman to senior years, Brockington’s averages increased from 4.3 to 16.9 points per game and from 1.2 to 6.8 rebounds per game. As a 6-foot-4 guard, that kind of versatility is hard to come by.

With the Clippers, he’ll most likely fit right in behind Reggie Jackson as the team’s backup point guard, sharing those duties with a hopefully healthy Jason Preston. One of the two will likely end up spending some time with Agua Caliente, the Clippers’ G League affiliate, but that’s part of the journey. Should the Clippers draft Brockington, they’ll get another aggressive shooting guard first, one who with the right development could become a contributor very soon.

Lawrence Frank and Steve Ballmer’s approach to the draft, no matter the selection, should be simple. According to Law Murray of the athletic, “The Clippers are casting a wide net of targets. There is no drafting by necessity in the second round. They could use their choice on one and done or on a super senior; a base or a center; or any type of player in between. This is BPA: Best Player Available.”

The best real players available, like Jabari Smith Jr. (currently -165 to be the first pick, according to DraftKings Sportsbook), Chet Holmgren (+125) and Paolo Banchero (+2000), will almost definitely be selected in the top three. next week. Other favorites, at least to be included in the top 10, include Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe and G League Ignite product Dyson Daniels (both -2500; as close to the top 10 surefire picks as you can get), Bennedict Mathurin (-800) , Johnny Davis (-250) and Jalen Duren (+100), to name a few.

Place your bets and tune in Thursday to see who the Clippers take, as well as who is a top pick surprise. There is always one; make some money with it, why not?

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