Entering the 2017 NBA Draft Day with no picks, the Los Angeles Clippers were able to purchase draft picks which resulted in solid two-way guards Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell. Having the Clippers purchase draft picks demonstrates the front office’s motivation for finding fresh talent. These additions will look to immediately upgrade their bench and delight fans.
Los Angeles Clippers Purchase Draft Picks Jawun Evans, Sindarius Thornwell
The Clippers could have had the 23rd and the 56th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. As fate would have it, Toronto and Boston acquired the rights to those picks as the result of some questionable past trades. The first-round selection was lost as the result of the Clippers’ ill-fated trade of Jared Dudley to the Milwaukee Bucks. The second-round selection was a casualty of the trade that brought Austin Rivers to Los Angeles.
With no draft stock to speak of, and stars Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick all entering free agency, the future is beginning to look dim for the Clippers. The franchise successfully avoided disaster with some tactical draft plays Thursday night. This is undoubtedly facilitated by newly-minted consultant Jerry West and funded by billionaire owner Steve Ballmer.
The Clippers picked up two solid guards, Sindarius Thornwell and Jawun Evans, in the second round of the Draft, and appear to be making other strategically sound moves to remain a contending force in the league in 2017-18.
The Clippers have acquired the signing rights for Oklahoma State point guard Jawun Evans from the Philadelphia 76ers. Evans was the 39th pick in the Draft.
Evans has the potential to be an excellent backup point guard for Los Angeles. Even sharing a number of positive attributes with Clipper’s star Chris Paul. Evans is explosive on the pick and roll and has a nice mid-range jumper. Attributes that are key for the Clipper’s high octane offense. Although not the best finisher at the rim, Evans knows how to draw contact and is a high-percentage foul shooter (81.8% career).
Considered a bit undersized, Evan’s measured in at only 6’1”. However, his relatively good wingspan of 6’5.5” helps make up for the height. Evans is a “score-first” point guard, but also a hardworking, above-average defender, making him a solid two-way player. In two years at Oklahoma State, Evans averaged 16.6 points on 44.8% shooting, 3.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
The deal for Evans is not yet official. The Clippers must wait until the NBA moratorium is lifted July 6th.
The Clippers purchased the 48th pick, Sindarius Thornwell, from the Milwaukee Bucks. The purchase price was reported to be around $2.5 million.
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 23, 2017
Thornwell is a 6’5’ guard out of the University of South Carolina. He is a fantastic pick-up for the Clippers. Thornwell is an underrated two-way wing player with a high basketball IQ and excellent court awareness. In his senior season at South Carolina, the 22-year-old Thornwell was named SEC Player of the Year and All-SEC First Team. Achieving multiple career high’s, Thornwell averaged 21.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. He shot a respectable 44.4% from the field and was similarly impressive in his three-point field goal (39.2) and free throw (83.0) percentages.
Thornwell is highly competitive, and a versatile defender. He finished his career at South Carolina as a two-time SEC All-Defensive First Team honoree and ranked third in school history in scoring (1,941 points), third in free throws made (570), and fourth in steals (199).
“He’s just a winner…he’s relentless & has great work ethic.” said Lawrence Frank, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Clippers.
"He's just a winner…he's relentless & has great work ethic."
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 23, 2017
One smudge on Thornwell’s record, although not of significant concern, is the fact that he was arrested in May 2016 for driving on a suspended license and possession of marijuana.
The arrest was not made public until December 2016. Thornwell would be suspended by South Carolina for six regular season games. Thornwell’s suspension was not publicly linked to the earlier arrest; both USC and men’s basketball coach Frank Martin declined to make such a connection.
Sources also report the Clippers signing University of North Carolina power forward Isaiah Hicks to a training camp deal as an undrafted free agent.
North Carolina G Isaiah Hicks signing with the Clippers, per source.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) June 23, 2017
Contrary to Aldridge tweet reporting Hicks as a guard, the 6’8″ big man is a classic power forward. He is athletic, relatively good on the offensive glass, and scores well around the basket. In his four years at UNC, Hicks averaged 7.4 points on 57.1% shooting and 3.6 rebounds per game. Averaging 72.5% at the free throw line, Hicks demonstrated potential to extend his offensive abilities outside of the paint and develop a solid mid-range game. Perhaps similar to current Clipper power forward Blake Griffin.