Clippers free company: John Wall, Andre Drummond and different under-the-radar targets to look at

The 2022 NBA Draft is Thursday, and in relation to free brokers, what occurs to the LA Clippers and their makes an attempt to retain their very own has been the precedence. That is particularly the case this yr, the place the Clippers do not need a lottery decide or a first-round decide and can start the draft with a lone second-round decide. The Clippers even have a principally full roster, that means that if they’ll retain their very own free brokers, there could also be room for just one vital veteran contributor from exterior the workforce.

We’ll know by subsequent week how the workforce possibility for Ivica Zubac and the participant possibility for Nicolas Batum resolve themselves, as groups formally will begin negotiating with free brokers on the finish of subsequent weekend.

Earlier than the draft begins reshaping rosters throughout the league, let’s check out some under-the-radar choices for the Clippers to contemplate, one at every place. I can even embrace the positional rankings from The Athletic’s John Hollinger with every goal.


Energy ahead: Otto Porter Jr.

It was attention-grabbing when the Warriors visited the Clippers for the primary recreation after the 2021 All-Star break. Golden State head coach Steve Kerr talked about the Warriors needed to signal Batum after the Charlotte Hornets purchased out his contract within the 2020 offseason. Batum went on to have a profession renaissance with the Clippers in 2020-21, then signed a two-year cope with a participant choice to return for the 2021-22 season. The Warriors, alternatively, missed the 2021 playoffs after dropping two Play-In video games, then signed oft-injured Porter on the low as soon as Batum re-signed with the Clippers in 2021.

The Porter signing labored out swimmingly for the newly topped champion Warriors. Porter was a backup energy ahead who was requested to perform a little offensively (seven-year low 8.2 factors per recreation, career-low 15.0 utilization price), however the third decide of the 2013 NBA Draft out of Georgetown spaced the ground successfully (1.3 3s per recreation, 37.0 p.c), rebounded onerous (5.7 per recreation) and was energetic defensively (1.1 steals). Dunks are one among my favourite indicators of well being and explosion, and Porter had 11 this season in 63 video games after solely eight within the earlier three seasons mixed in Washington, Chicago and Orlando.

The Clippers would favor Batum to return; Batum additionally would favor to return. So, including a veteran energy ahead would appear to be a moot level. However simply in case issues break down someplace, or in case there is a commerce that includes Marcus Morris Sr., Porter may very well be a contingency possibility and positively would match the Clippers on each ends of the ground.


Taking pictures guard: Delon Wright

Wright is a Los Angeles native who went to Leuzinger Excessive College in Lawndale, Calif., And he’s a former teammate of present Clippers Norman Powell and Kawhi Leonard. The Hawks have been Wright’s sixth workforce in 4 years, and he performed a five-year low of 18.9 minutes per recreation whereas serving as a combo guard behind All-Star Trae Younger and wings like De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter and Bogdan Bogdanović.

Hollinger has Wright as a degree guard, however he is 6-5 and has performed off the ball sufficient to suit any perimeter place. Wright is an extremely quiet scorer who by some means tried solely 6.7 discipline targets and 1.6 free throws per 36 minutes final season. He can shoot the basketball, making 37.9 p.c of his 3s and 85.7 p.c of his free throws. Wright has energetic arms defensively whereas ending nicely in transition, the latter being a significant situation for the 2021-22 Clippers. Wright has at all times been cautious with basketball, which speaks to his lack of aggression but additionally displays how he values ​​the rock.

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue most likely must inform Wright to shoot the basketball repeatedly. Wright is 30 years previous regardless of being a 2015 first-round decide and coming off a quiet yr in Atlanta. He may very well be obtainable for a workforce just like the Clippers, who’ve a pair of free-agent wings in Amir Coffey (restricted) and Rodney Hood (unrestricted). Wright might run pick-and-roll nicely sufficient so as to add to the cadre of playmaking wings already on the roster, with extra level guard expertise than anybody besides incumbent starter Reggie Jackson.


Small ahead: TJ Warren

The danger on Warren is clear: He has performed solely 4 video games because the 2020 restart in Florida ended. Warren underwent surgical procedure in January 2021 to restore a stress fracture in his left foot, and despite the fact that he was taking part in follow this season, he was shut down by the Pacers in March.

Warren spent the remainder of this previous season getting ready for the 2022-23 season at dwelling in North Carolina, and the 2014 lottery select of NC State will undoubtedly need to take a prove-it kind of deal. Hollinger has Warren as an influence ahead, however Warren spent his first season with the Pacers beginning at small ahead with Domantas Sabonis at energy ahead and Myles Turner at heart. He definitely has the scale to play energy ahead, however it’s his talent as an environment friendly scorer with 3-point vary and a elegant midrange recreation that makes him intriguing.

As acknowledged above with Wright and Porter, the wing place for the Clippers’ roster is sort of full. However that might at all times change relying on what occurs in free company, and it’s unclear what sort of workload Warren might fulfill. Warren may very well be the form of participant that doesn’t play each day for the Clippers or takes on a heavy load of minutes when he does take the courtroom. He has the form of on-ball juice as a scorer and off-ball talent as a cutter to go together with sufficient vary as a shooter to be a novel difference-maker in quite a lot of lineups for Lue.


Heart: Andre Drummond

The names are simply getting greater, aren’t they? Drummond was the ninth decide within the 2012 draft out of Connecticut by the Detroit Pistons. His first NBA head coach was none apart from Lawrence Frank, who’s now the present Clippers president of basketball operations. The Pistons-to-Clippers pipeline is expansive, and Drummond has performed with Jackson, Morris and Luke Kennard.

Drummond has led the NBA in rebounds 4 occasions and was an All-Star in 2016 and 2018, however as evidenced by the truth that he has performed on 5 groups within the final three seasons, his worth now isn’t that of an elite heart. Drummond was traded in the course of two of the final three years, and the Clippers could have been interested by him after the Cleveland Cavaliers purchased him out in 2020-21; Drummond went on to start out for the Los Angeles Lakers as a substitute earlier than signing a minimal deal to again up Joel Embiid with the Philadelphia 76ers within the 2021 offseason.

Drummond doesn’t block many photographs, however he is a good rim protector, despite the fact that he isn’t on the identical stage as unrestricted free agent Isaiah Hartenstein or Zubac. He can get cooked in isolations, however Drummond has at all times had energetic arms, permitting him to disrupt pick-and-rolls frequently. Offensively, Drummond may be an journey regardless of his imposing measurement. He doesn’t end lots of the surplus of offensive rebounds he inhales, turns the ball over an excessive amount of to be a submit possibility and has at all times struggled to shoot the ball nicely. However Drummond can nonetheless leap, and his passing is not so unhealthy that he’s utterly radioactive with the ball in his arms exterior of the paint.

The middle place is the one that’s probably to see turnover from final season for the Clippers. That course of already started when Serge Ibaka was traded in February. Zubac’s companions at heart have had vastly totally different talent units in every of the earlier three seasons, that includes Hartenstein’s passing, Ibaka’s capturing and 2020 Sixth Man of the Yr Montrezl Harrell’s inside scoring. If nothing else, Drummond could be the very best rebounder, and the Clippers definitely would welcome that.


Level guard: John Wall

That is as loud because it will get proper right here! John Wall, the highest decide of the identical 2010 NBA Draft that noticed Paul George go tenth. A five-time All-Star, 2015 All-Protection choice (Second Workforce) and 2017 All-NBA choice (Third Workforce) with the Washington Wizards, Wall has seen his profession sidetracked by a mix of accidents and no matter you wish to name his 2021-22 season the place the Houston Rockets stored him on the inactive listing for the whole marketing campaign.

The final time Wall performed was on April 23, 2021, when he completed with 27 factors and 13 assists towards the Clippers in a close to upset. Total, Wall has performed in solely 113 regular-season video games because the 2017 postseason. However the 2020-21 season was one thing of a comeback for him. He competed defensively regardless of career-lows in rebounds (3.2) and steals (1.1), and he averaged 20.6 factors, 5.3 free-throw makes an attempt (74.9 p.c), 6.9 assists and a pair of.0 3s. The draw back with Wall’s offense is that he shot a career-low 40.4 p.c from the sector, made solely 31.7 p.c from 3 and had 3.5 turnovers to go together with a career-low assists.

That brings us to why Wall could be listed right here, particularly after I recommended {that a} superior participant in Kyrie Irving makes little sense for the Clippers and Wall anticipated to opt-in to his $ 47 million participant possibility subsequent season. Merely put, Wall could be a buyout candidate for the Clippers, not a participant arriving by way of commerce. If Wall have been to return to the Clippers at a decreased price, he’d be taking part in on probably the most gifted workforce he is been on. Along with his reference to George, Wall is represented by Wealthy Paul, who additionally represents Brandon Boston Jr. and now Lue. The query could be whether or not he’d have to start out or could be prepared to return off the bench.

(High picture: Carmen Mandato / POOL PHOTOS-USA As we speak)

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