CLIPPERS NAB WASHINGTON’S WILCOX AT NO. 28
Eric Patten, Clippers.com
A year ago when Doc Rivers arrived in Los Angeles he said the Clippers can never have enough shooting.
On Thursday night with the 28th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft he added more.
The Clippers landed Washington guard C.J. Wilcox, who in four seasons set the Huskies’ career record for 3-pointers made with 301.
“I thought as far shooting in this league you need it and you can never have enough of it,” Rivers said. “I’m a big believer of that. I thought he was the best shooter in the Draft. If not number one, then number two.”
Wilcox, 23, was among one of the first workout groups for the Clippers in their preparation for the Draft and was one of a handful of players Rivers and his front office staff projected would be available at the bottom of the first round.
“It’s actually funny that was one of the worst workouts that I had,” Wilcox said via conference call shortly after being selected. “I walked out of there not too confident with how it went, but I talked to my agent afterwards and he said they had been watching me for a while and they still liked what I brought to the table.”
Rivers agreed, saying his staff had watched Wilcox for more than a year and a half and were not going to let a single workout determine whether or not they chose him.
“They didn’t think I was going to actually fall this far,” Wilcox added. “But if I did I knew there was a good chance that they would take me.”
It is the second season in row the Clippers have elected to go with a wing player who finished his career among his school’s best from long distance. In 2013 it was North Carolina sharp-shooter Reggie Bullock at No. 25 and this time it was Wilcox.
“He’s a great shooter,” Rivers said. “And I value shooting. When you’re at 28 [in the Draft] I don’t think you can afford to take what needs you have. I’ve never thought that. A great example is last year, we picked Reggie. We didn’t need a 3 at the time we had [Jared Dudley] and Matt [Barnes] and now we have Jamal [Crawford] and J.J. [Redick], but [Wilcox] is the best player [available].”
The 6-foot-5 shooting guard measured a 6-foot-9.5 wingspan and a 37.5-inch vertical at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. He is sixth all-time in Pac-12 history in 3-pointers made and was fourth in the conference in scoring in 2013-14, averaging 18.5 points per game. He was second in the conference in 3-point percentage (39.1) and finished his career at Washington never shooting worse than 36.6 percent from distance.
But it’s not all about shooting, according to Wilcox.
“I just talked to Doc not too long ago,” Wilcox said. “Defense was the first thing he brought up and that’s something I’m definitely capable of doing. So, that comes first, but definitely my ability to shoot the ball is going to help stretch the floor.”
Wilcox, whose family moved to San Diego two years ago, watched Draft at home along with a couple of high school friends from Pleasant Grove, Utah, his college coach Lorenzo Romar and others.
“We got the call a couple of minutes before and started celebrating before my name was even called,” Wilcox said. “It was a really surreal moment, but everybody’s excited and ready to get started.”