From now until the NBA draft on June 21, the Clippers will ponder which direction is best for them to move with their two first-round picks.
They have the option of keeping both draft picks and adding more talent to their core. They could look to trade one of the picks to try to move up in the draft or move down.
The Clippers took another step in that process on Wednesday by bringing in six more players for workouts at their practice facility, using that time to see which of them might fit when they select 12th and 13th in the draft.
“You go in with the mind set of selecting two high-quality players,” said Lawrence Frank, the Clippers’ president of basketball operations. “But at the same time, you’re doing your due diligence every single day, just like the other teams are. When you kind of control the middle of the draft, it gives you great optionality.”
Michigan State’s Miles Bridges and Kentucky’s Kevin Knox are potential picks for the Clippers, according to several mock draft boards. UCLA’s Aaron Holiday is expected to go later in the first round.
They were joined in the workouts by Notre Dame’s Matt Farrell, UCLA’s GG Goloman and Wake Forest’s Doral Moore.
Bridges, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward, fits the bill for what the Clippers prefer and what the NBA has become, which is position-less and versatile. He sees himself as being able to play small forward and some power forward.
He knows he’s on the Clippers’ radar, but that didn’t change his approach during Wednesday’s workout.
“I try to give the same effort wherever I am because I never know wherever I’m going to end up,” said Bridges, who played two seasons at Michigan State. “So I try and give 110% everywhere I go. Like I said, this was a great workout and I gave it my all.”
The 6-9, 215-pound Knox is considered another of the hybrid players. His diverse offensive game allows him play either forward spot.
“I think defensively, I can switch one through four,” said Knox, who played one season at Kentucky. “Pick-and-roll is something the league is going to now. I think offensively I’m versatile. You can play me at any position.”
On the flip side, Holiday is a 6-1 point guard.
He played three seasons for the Bruins and displayed his ability to score by averaging 20.3 points a game last season, to pass (5.8 assists), to shoot from three-point range (42.9%) and to play defense (1.3 steals).
“I don’t really think my height matters,” said Holiday, whose older brothers Jrue and Justin are NBA veterans. “If I go out there and play hard, I’ll be all right. I can play defense and offense and shoot the ball pretty well. So, I think I can fit pretty well on this level.”
During the workouts, Frank said they wanted to see how the players responded to different match-ups, playing against similar positions and against smaller and bigger guys.
“And those guys responded really well,” Frank said. “You also want to see that when fatigue sets in, how does each guy respond? So, you have to get them in that fatigue state because that’s where you get to see, ‘How are they going to respond to a little adversity?’…So this is the ultimate job interview in that you’re actually getting to see what guys do.”