CLIPPERS CHOOSE FURKAN ALDEMIR WITH 53RD PICK IN DRAFT
Eric Patten | 6/28/12

PLAYA VISTA - The wait lasted more than four hours, 52 selections, and a countless number of phone calls, but with the 53rd pick in the 2012 NBA Draft the Los Angeles Clippers selected Turkish forward Furkan Aldemir.

Aldemir is a 20-year-old big man, who played for Galatasaray Medical Park in the Turkish League last season and has five years of professional experience. He was one of the youngest players in the draft.

Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said there were a number of attributes to like about Aldemir, "He's long, he's a young kid, he's good around the basket. He ran well, he's got some length, he's got some upside to him.

"You want to pick the best guy possible at that position and that was the position we were in at that point."

A member of the Clippers front office called Aldemir a "serviceable" big man and most draft services project him as an energetic rebounder and at 6-foot-10, 230 pounds, a physical presence in the paint. He averaged 8.3 points per game and 6.7 rebounds in 20.1 minutes last season with Galatasaray.

Del Negro said the team's focus was not necessarily on choosing an international player.

"At that stage you just want the best available player," Del Negro said. "If it fits one of your needs, you obviously want the guy that has the best upside."

According to Del Negro, the team also considered making a move up, but nothing came about.

"There were a lot of things going on, but there are some opportunities to move in [to the first round]," Del Negro said. "I wouldn't say we were close, but there were a couple of opportunities that we looked at. If we were going to move up at the time, it wasn't the player that we had targeted or felt comfortable with. But we were trying to be aggressive and trying to move up if it made sense for us."

While the Clippers ultimately stayed at No. 53, the first round of the draft saw a limited number of moves, despite nearly a week of speculation to the contrary. The first 16 selections went off without a deal.

As expected Kentucky star Anthony Davis went first overall to New Orleans and Davis' collegiate teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went second to Charlotte. Duke's Austin Rivers was also taken by New Orleans at No. 10 and Boston chose Fab Melo (Syracuse) at No. 22. Both picks were originally owned by the Clippers, but were subsequently dealt in separate trades. The 10th pick was sent to the Hornets in the Chris Paul trade and Boston's choice came from Oklahoma City via the Clippers as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade in 2010.

Still, despite not having a first round pick for the second consecutive draft, Del Negro said the team is focused on improving the roster in a number of other ways.

"We want to use our draft picks moving forward as much as possible," Del Negro said. "If we think there are opportunities out there to improve the roster in a way that makes sense for us, obviously we'll do that. You have to make solid deals, you have to get better through the draft and you have to develop your players. We haven't had the pick in the last couple years, but we've got a couple young pieces that we like and we're headed in the right direction from that aspect.

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