CLIPPERS PREPARE FOR THURSDAY’S DRAFT WITH RIVERS IN FOLD

Doc Rivers and Gary Sacks

Clippers Vice President of Basketball Operations Gary Sacks says the NBA Draft is “an asset acquisition vehicle.”

For the Clippers, who own the No. 25 selection in Thursday’s Draft, it will be about finding a balance between obvious need and best player available.

“Every team could use, even if it’s a championship level team, could use help at various positions,” Sacks said. “Obviously, we’d like to get some more outside shooting. We’d like some athleticism and defense on the wings, big men who can come in and help us off the bench or provide skillsets that we don’t already have and, of course, it’s always good to have guards that can come in and provide that defense and shooting.”

The range of potential needs mirrors the diversity of the Clippers’ pre-Draft workout schedule. They looked at stretch forwards, point guards, shooters, defensive-oriented wings, bangers and post players over the last month.

Out of all of them, Sacks posited, “I would say the major thing would be defense and shooting.”

Tim Hardaway Jr., Reggie Bullock and Tony Snell fit that mold. The trio worked out along with freshman forward Ricky Ledo last Friday. Other players could include Solomon Hill, James Ennis, Allen Crabbe (California) or Jamaal Franklin (San Diego State). The latter two did not work out for the Clippers, but it is not unprecedented for a team to select someone that did not go through a team workout.

The Clippers attended a three-team workout in conjunction with the Nets and Rockets in New Jersey and another multi-team workout in Minnesota. They had an international scout in Treviso and spent a week at the Draft combine in Chicago, all in addition to the scouting the team has done throughout the NCAA regular season and tournament. 

The diligence from Sacks, Director of Basketball Operations Gerald Madkins and their staff has new Head Coach and Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations Doc Rivers confident heading into Thursday.

“Listen, they’ve been working on it,” Rivers said of Sacks and the rest of the front office. “We’ve identified team needs and they’ve been working on it.  They’ve been looking at them. They’ve been putting together all of the Draft guys. Gary has a terrific staff, so we’ll be ready [Thursday] when that time comes. We’ll be on the same page.”

That communication, according to Madkins, begins with the scout who has seen a draftable player the most.

“I always rely on the guys who have seen [prospects] the most,” Madkins said. “I’m going to put stock in the guy who has been in the gym, who has seen them practice, has seen games, has seen them play on the road and at home. To me, when you’re talking about a prospect that’s the person you lean heavily on.”

In all, the Clippers conducted eight workouts at their Playa Vista training center and are intent on spending Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon putting together their final Draft plan with Rivers.

“I think the best way to go about it is to identify what your team needs are but be ready to take the best player if someone is there that you really feel that you can’t pass up on,” Sacks said. “The process for us is creating tiers and understanding that you’d like to feel some needs and with this team that would be the goal. But it’s not necessarily the case that you can do that every time. You have to be prepared to take the best player if he’s there and move forward with that.”